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Terror attack on kosher supermarket in Paris, Victims to be buried in Israel

PM Netanyahu: The international community must take united action against the terrorists from extremist Islam and against the terrorist infrastructures that support them.
PM Netanyahu has acceded to the request of the families of the victims of the terrorist attack at the Jewish supermarket in Paris and instructed all relevant government officials to assist in bringing them for burial in Israel.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with French President Francois Hollande, who informed him that four hostages had been killed in the terrorist attack on a supermarket in Paris and that 15 hostages had been rescued.

Prime Minister Netanyahu began the conversation in French and told President Hollande, "The entire people of Israel are with you." He added, "Our hearts are with the families of the victims. Israel offers any assistance that France needs."

Prime Minister Netanyahu asked President Hollande to maintain heightened security at Jewish institutions even after the return to routine. The Prime Minister added that the international community must take united action against the terrorists from extremist Islam and against the terrorist infrastructures that support them, action that would strike at the sources of financing for terrorism and the network of incitement that encourages such acts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and offered the State of Israel’s assistance in any sphere that the French authorities might require.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with his French counterpart about security at Jewish institutions in France and noted that it was essential to strike at the sources of financing for extremist Islamic terrorist organizations and to take action against the incitement in Europe that encourages such actions.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with CRIF President Roger Cukierman and French National Assembly member Meyer Habib and asked them to convey to the French Jewish community that the Israeli people are with them in this difficult hour. The Prime Minister also asked them to adhere to security directives at Jewish institutions.

Shortly after being updated on the terrorist attack at the kosher market, Prime Minister Netanyahu held a conference call with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Ministry Director General Nissim Ben-Shetrit, Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen. The Prime Minister instructed that all possible assistance be granted to the French authorities and that security directives be underscored at Israeli missions and Jewish institutions.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

"On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send our condolences to the French Jewish community and the French people who have suffered a murderous terrorist assault in the last few days. These attacks in Paris are the continuation of extremist Islam’s war against our free civilization, in the West, in the entire modern world and also in the moderate Arab states and among entire publics in the Islamic world. This is a wave of terrorism that is spreading a global net of hatred, fanaticism and murder. After establishing its bases in the Middle East, terrorism is now sending its arms throughout the world. If the world does not take action quickly, we will find this terrorism gaining momentum and increasingly striking at other centers of the free world and in other places.

The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names - Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders.

They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward.

Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.

I am convinced that if we are united this terrorism will be unable to defeat us. But if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this - what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning. These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.

Last night I spoke with French Prime minister Manuel Valls and with French President Francois Hollande. I commended the determination with which the French authorities eliminated the terrorists, these murderers, and I also commended the courage of the French security services. But this is not enough. In order to fight terrorism, it is essential to strike at its sources of financing and at the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe. It is also essential to take action against countries that give support, shelter and passage to terrorism.

The first law is that it is forbidden to give in to the fear that it seeks to instil in us. In order to fight terrorism it is simply necessary to fight it. We express our deepest sorrow over the French citizens who were murdered, the journalists, the police officers and the innocent citizens who were murdered simply because they were citizens of the free world. We express our deepest sorrow over our Jewish brothers who were murdered simply because they were Jews. Our brothers and sisters in the French Jewish community, we grieve with you over the terrible loss. I would like to send condolences to the families of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada. We also send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all the wounded.

This evening, I spoke by telephone with Celine Shreki, who was a hostage in the kosher market in the heart of Paris; she is recovering. She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later.

To Celine and all French Jews, and to all European Jews, I would like to say: The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state."



President Rivlin speaks with French Jewish community heads in emergency meeting following terror attacks

President Reuven Rivlin spoke by telephone with the heads of CRIF, the French Jewish community organization, during their emergency meeting of over sixty community leaders, following the murderous attacks of the past week.

The President told them, "I speak to you tonight, not only as President of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people as a whole."

He continued, “We are all, here in Israel, grieving and hurting with you, we share in the sorrow of the families, the Jewish community, and of the French people. We are one family and our pain is severe. In moments such as these, we are ever aware of the responsibility we have to one another, and the deep bond that connects us as one.

“These most recent events make plain that terrorism is terrorism. It does not distinguish between blood, and it threatens indiscriminately across the world. These attacks weigh heavily on the understanding of the extent of the spread of fundamentalism. Attacks on newspapers, just as attacks on supermarkets full of innocent civilians preparing for the Sabbath, are not events that humanity can tolerate. We must not give in to terrorism in any way, shape or form, and we will overcome this threat."

The President concluded, “Tonight, the State of Israel is by your side, just as you stand by us in difficult times. As one family, we feel pain together, as we well know - but moreover we know, that we rejoice together too - and together, tonight we will pray, for happier times, and for comfort.

The community leaders joined in the President's prayer, and thanked him for his warm words.
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Terror in Paris: Presumed killer takes hostages in kosher supermarket, including baby

WJC, At least five people were taken hostage at a kosher supermarket in Paris after a shootout on Friday. At least one person was reportedly wounded. An 11-month-old baby is said to be among the hostages.

The suspect was armed with two guns, 'Reuters' quoted a police source as saying. Reports said that one person was wounded in the attack in the eastern part of the French capital, as SWAT teams surrounded the area. French President ordered the country’s top security official to the scene, an official in the presidency told the 'Associated Press'.

There are also unconfirmed reports that the gunman, named by police as 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly, is refusing to release any of the hostages until the Kouachi brothers, the presumed perpetrators of the 'Charlie Hebdo' massacre, are allowed to flee the police siege north of Paris.

Kosher restaurants were closing across Paris and schools in the area were on lockdown.

Jewish schools in Paris close down

The supermarket is located just 800 meters from the ORT Daniel Mayer High School in Montreuil. The siege started at 1 pm local time as many students were leaving the school to go home for Shabbat. The Jewish school, which usually shuts at 2.30pm on Fridays, closed as soon as staff learned of the crisis. “People are terrified,” said Elio Lumbroso, ORT Daniel Mayer’s Educational Development Manager, who was among staff still at the school looking after a dozen students who were still waiting to be collected by their parents. “We had three police officers stationed outside the school after the Charlie Hebdo attack – they all got into a car and left to attend the kosher supermarket.”

The situation was made worse by reports that jihadists had entered another Jewish school in Paris. “We have a girl here in tears because she just had a call from her brother who is at the school,” Lumbroso said. “They are evacuating in small groups. It’s terrible, terrible.”

The gunman at the supermarket was suspected of being the same man who killed a policewoman in Montrouge, southern Paris, on Thursday. He is thought to have links to the assailants who stormed satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' a day earlier and suspected to be a member of the same jihadist group as brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who on Friday morning were holed up in a factory near Charles de Gaulle airport.

In Thursday's attack, the gunman was wearing a bullet-proof vest and was carrying a pistol and an automatic rifle. He opened fire and killed the trainee policewoman, named as Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 25. A street sweeper was seriously injured in the incident. The shooting is being treated as a "terrorist act" by the French authorities.

Twelve people were killed and many others wounded when masked gunmen stormed the offices 'Charlie Hebdo' on Wednesday and opened fire.

Jewish sites have previously been targets for terrorist attacks in France. In 2012, a gunman on a motorbike shot and killed a teacher and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. The gunman, a 23-year-old Mohammed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent said he attacked the school because "the Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine."
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Behind the Headlines: Terrorist attack in Jerusalem synagogue

In the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks, Palestinian terrorists massacred innocent Jews at prayer, motivated by intensive Palestinian incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism against Israelis.


Early Tuesday morning (7:00 Israel time), two Palestinian terrorists entered a synagogue in Har Nof (a neighborhood in north-west Jerusalem), with the intention of massacring innocent Jews at prayer. Using a gun and butcher knives, the terrorists murdered four Jewish worshippers during their morning prayers. All four men were rabbis and all held dual citizenship: three were American-Israelis and the fourth was a British-Israeli dual citizen.

A police officer who was critically injured while attempting to stop the terrorist attack succumbed to his wounds late Tuesday evening, bringing the death toll to five. Seven other Israelis were wounded (three of them seriously) in the attack.

The two terrorists from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber were killed during the exchange of fire with police. This massacre of peaceful worshippers is the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

These terrorist attacks as well as Palestinian violence on Jerusalem's Temple Mount are caused by intensive Palestinian incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism against Israelis. As US Secretary of State John Kerry stated today in London, this morning's attack on the synagogue was "the pure result of incitement."

This vicious incitement is conducted by the Palestinian Authority, led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and extreme Islamist elements, particularly Hamas. The incitement is based on false claims against Israel and outright lies, including about sensitive religious issues.

For example, on Sunday, a Palestinian bus driver committed suicide in Jerusalem. The official autopsy and police investigation found that he had committed suicide by hanging himself inside his bus. Despite this, official PA media and other sources enflamed the situation by spreading the lie that he was murdered by Jews. This morning, the main headline of the official PA paper, al-Hayat al-Jadida, quoted Abbas calling the suicide "an abominable crime" and the bus driver "a martyr."

Palestinian incitement is continuing despite last Thursday's talks (13 November) in Jordan with Secretary Kerry, King Abdullah of Jordan, PA President Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The parties were supposed to act to calm the situation in Jerusalem. Israel did; Abbas most certainly did not. While Israel acted to restore calm and reaffirmed its commitment to the status quo on the Temple Mount, the Palestinians incited to terrorism and carried out murders. Israel ended the temporary security restriction on younger Muslims praying on the Temple Mount on Friday. The PA's official media called for a "Day of Rage" on Friday. Instead of calming the situation, Abbas exploited Sunday's suicide to inflame it.

Most members of the international community have turned a blind eye to Palestinian incitement to violence. This permits Abbas and other Palestinian leaders to allow the publication of the hate speech and blood libels that directly inspire terrorist attacks. World leaders and the international community at large should condemn this systematic and pervasive incitement, starting with that being carried out by President Abbas and PA officials.

While Abbas' office did issue a lukewarm condemnation of the attack this morning (which focused more on blaming Israel than denouncing or even identifying the attackers), it was clearly an attempt to deflect international pressure. Abbas' own Fatah party praised the terrorists who attacked the synagogue. Sultan Abu Al-Einein, an advisor to Abbas and a member of Fatah's Central Committee, called the synagogue attack "heroic" on Facebook. An additional statement praising the attack in the name of Fatah's Jerusalem branch was published on a main Fatah Facebook page.


Recent Palestinian terrorist attacks

16 November (Saturday night): A 35-year-old Jewish man was moderately injured after being stabbed in the back by a Palestinian in Jerusalem.
10 November: A 26-year-old Israeli woman died in the West Bank after being run over and stabbed.
10 November: An off-duty IDF soldier was stabbed to death in Tel Aviv.
5 November: An Israeli police officer and 17-year-old yeshiva student were murdered and 13 others injured when a Palestinian terrorist deliberately rammed his car into pedestrians near a Jerusalem light-rail station and then attacked them with a metal bar.
29 October: Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot multiple times and critically injured by a Palestinian terrorist in central Jerusalem.
22 October: A three-month-old baby girl and a young woman from Ecuador were murdered, deliberately run over by a Palestinian driver at a light-rail train station in Jerusalem. Seven others were wounded.

World reactions

United States - President Barack Obama stated the he strongly condemned the attacks which killed 3 US citizens. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, called the attack an "act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was "horrified and heartbroken" by the attack. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement condemning the "horrific terror attack" which he said "was a deplorable act of evil that should be denounced as such by all regardless of their political or religious beliefs." The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they will be investigating the incident.

Canada - Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the "barbaric act of terror." Harper said Canada's "thoughts and prayers are with the people of Israel."

European Union - Federica Mogherini, EU chief of foreign policy, condemned the deadly massacre as an "act of terror."

France - President François Hollande issued a statement condemning "the heinous attack ... in a synagogue in Jerusalem and those who dared to welcome the act."

Germany - Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the "deadly attacks targeting innocent believers in a place of worship" a "terrible transgression in an already extremely tense situation."

Great Britain - Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the Palestinian attack, writing "I'm appalled by today's horrific attack on worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue. My thoughts are with the victims' families."

Turkey - Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu condemned the attack.

United Nations - Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, describing the attack as a "reprehensible incident", "strongly condemns today’s attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem which claimed four lives and injured several persons." Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said: "There can be no justification whatsoever for these deliberate killings."

Bahrain - Sheikh Abu Khalifa, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, condemned the attack.

Palestinian Authority - Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, stated that "the presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshipers in their place of prayer and condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it."

Hamas - Hamas praised the attack as "an appropriate and functional response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation." In the Gaza Strip people distributed sweets to celebrate, and brandished axes and posters of the killers. Palestinian television displayed photographs of celebratory scenes in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, and Palestinian radio called the killers "martyrs".
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Terror attack in Jerusalem synagogue

Four killed, eight wounded - three seriously and one critically

The victims: Rabbis Moshe Twersky, 59, Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, and Kalman Levine, 55.

PM Netanyahu: "This is the direct result of the incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen, incitement which the international community is irresponsibly ignoring. We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers."

At 7: 00 on Tuesday morning, 18 November 2014, two terrorists wielding meat cleavers, knives and guns entered the Kehillat Bnei Torah building on Harav Shimon Agassi Street in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem, which includes a synagogue and yeshiva. They began attacking worshipers, stabbing them before opening fire. About 30 worshipers were in the midst of the morning prayers, wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries.

Police who arrived at the scene shortly after the attack began shot and killed the two terrorists.

Police confirm that four people were killed in the terror attack and eight wounded, three seriously and one critically. Two of the wounded are policemen, one in critical condition as doctors fight for his life.

One of the victims has been identified as Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, head of the Torat Moshe Yeshiva in Jerusalem, elder son of Rabbi Isadore Twersky of Boston, and a grandson of Modern Orthodox luminary Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The three other victims were identified as Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, and Rabbi Kalman Ze'ev Levine, 55, all of Jerusalem.

Hamas said on its official Al-Aqsa TV: "The attack in Jerusalem is a reaction to the crime and execution of the martyr al-Ramouni and a reaction to the crimes of the occupation. The Hamas movement is calling for more revenge attacks." Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, employed as a driver by the Egged bus company in Jerusalem, was found hanged at a bus terminal on Sunday night. Contrary to claims published in the Palestinian media that al-Ramouni was murdered, official autopsy results confirmed the police's suspicion of suicide.

US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the attack:
"People who had come to worship God in the sanctuary of a synagogue were hatcheted and hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder. I call on the Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms. This violence has no place anywhere.”
"To have this kind of act, which a pure result of incitement,” is unacceptable, Kerry said, adding that Palestinian leaders “must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language, other people’s language and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path."

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Statement by PM Netanyahu


Operation Protective Edge has not ended, because this is a continuing campaign. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations has continued for many years. Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit very hard.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

"First, I would like to personally turn to the IDF soldiers and commanders, to the bereaved families who lost their dear ones in Operation Protective Edge, to the wounded who are recovering in hospital, to the residents of communities close to the Gaza Strip, to the residents of the Negev, the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and the coastal plain, and to all citizens of the State of Israel.

I would like to commend you and to thank you for the steadfastness and extraordinary unity that the citizens and soldiers of Israel have shown during the past weeks. I want you to know that the ultimate responsibility for your security and peace is mine, as Prime Minister. I am concerned for the security and peace of all Israelis, both the sons that we have sent to the front and the families that are strong and determined in the home front.

Our goal is that the residents of Kerem Shalom, Sderot and the other communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Ashkelon and Tel Aviv will be able to sleep quietly and that the children of Ofakim, Netivot, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva won’t have to run to the protected areas at school.

Along with my colleagues, especially Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who is currently attending a memorial ceremony for IDF soldiers, we are taking all measures to complete the campaign and achieve the goals that we set for ourselves: The restoration of quiet and security for you all. We are doing this in full cooperation, with sagacity, responsibility and determination, and thus shall we continue until the goal is achieved.

One consideration stands before me - the good of the State of Israel. And this consideration is the only one that guides my decision-making, as well as that of the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, no other object, no harsh words from either the Right or the Left, and I condemn all harsh words, and no other interests, only the responsibility for the security and peace of all Israelis. Accordingly, I will continue to act with determination, responsibility and sagacity.

Operation Protective Edge has not ended, not even for a moment, because this is a continuing campaign and I am not speaking only about recent weeks. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations is long and has continued for many years - against Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza, which is part of an Islamic terrorist network the newest member of which is a murderous gang, another terrorist organization, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and it has also attacked Lebanon.

In recent weeks we have hit Hamas very hard on the battlefield. All of the networks that it built in order to attack us have been foiled.

First of all, we prevented - via Iron Dome - attacks by thousands of rockets against our communities. We have killed hundreds of terrorists. We have destroyed thousands of rockets and launchers. We broke up the network of assault tunnels that Hamas built over the years in order to launch simultaneous attacks against our communities and we foiled all of its attempts to attack us from land, sea and air.

This is the harshest blow that Hamas has taken since it was founded. And I remind you that we have already dismantled its capabilities in Judea and Samaria and blocked its attempts to carry out a coup. We did all this before and during the operation. We have hit Hamas very hard. We are determined to continue the campaign by all means for as long as it takes. We will not stop until we have assured full security and a quiet life for the residents of the south and for all Israelis.

Hamas thinks that it can wear us down. It is mistaken. The Israeli people are strong. Instead of attrition, Hamas will be crushed - its infrastructures, terrorists and commanders.

Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit, and not just hit but hit very hard. And if Hamas does not understand this today, it will understand it tomorrow. And if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow because in the Middle East, one needs not just military power but stamina and patience.

My grandfather came here in 1920, here to Jaffa. Several months after he came here, thugs burst into the Jewish immigration office in Jaffa and murdered Jews, in this area, including the well-known author Yosef Haim Brenner. This was almost 94 years ago.

Since then we have been fighting against terrorism - with considerable success. In this time we built our state, developed our cities, developed our economy and created a magnificent army.

Our spirit has not fallen, not even for a moment. On the contrary, it has grown, as has our unity, and we must continue to maintain our internal unity, as well as the courage and resilience of the nation and the home front.

All of these are vital components of our national strength. All of these are foundation stones as we fulfill the mission we have set for ourselves - restoring quiet and security, and I would like to add, in light of the very dramatic changes taking place in our region, not all of them negative, I also add achieving a new diplomatic horizon for the State of Israel."

Following are remarks in English by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the press conference:

I hope President Abbas plays a constructive role. He has an opportunity to do so. I think he has to understand obviously that no one, and least of all Israel can accept the kind of terror attacks that are coming from Hamas. I think that were acting well within our rights, probably more rigorously than any, I would say. No other country has acted more rigorously than Israel in defending itself within legitimate means. And I expect President Abbas to do that.

I will look forward to restarting peace negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace with Israel, to the end of terror, to fulfilling the previous obligations that we have. And I think this is part and parcel of the larger picture that I'm talking about. We have to think carefully how we tie in the new circumstances to the advantage of peace and against terror.

Hamas is like ISIS. ISIS is like Hamas. They're branches of the same tree. And I can say that the entire world has been shocked by the atrocities of Isis. You saw this, the beheading of an American journalist, Foley. It shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people. Well, we face the same savagery. The people who wantonly rocket our cities and want to conduct mass killings, and when they can they murder children, teenagers; they shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor - their own people; and use their people as human shields.

Hamas is ISIS; ISIS is Hamas. They're the enemies of peace; they're the enemies of Israel; they're the enemies of all civilized countries. I believe they're the enemies of the Palestinians. And I'm not the only one who believes it.
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PM Netanyahu holds press conference

Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians, and Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza's general demilitarization. 

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement and answers to questions at his press conference for the foreign press on Wednesday evening, 6 August:

"The rectangle that you see in the center is the UNRWA's Shahada al-Manar elementary school for boys.

That's the thing that you see there in reddish color and you see right around that four mortars fires. Five mortars are fired. One mortar fired. One mortar fired. Right around that school. It’s very important to see that and to understand what kind of conditions our forces are facing from Gaza.

You see the big building to the right of the arrows? That's a school. You see civilian houses in a distance of a few meters, a mosque literally touching the school, civilian houses around it. This is where the terror tunnels are dug, and may I say that in many places the terror tunnels were dug from homes. From homes. From inside the homes. So, that is an example again of the use of civilian areas both to fire rockets at our civilians and to dig the terror tunnels for the death squads to reach our people, kidnap and kill them.

I expect, now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza, or some of them are leaving Gaza, and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidations, I expect we’ll see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.

The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians. That means to protect our people from roughly 3,500 rockets, three thousand five hundred rockets that Hamas and the other terrorist groups have fired on our cities, on our towns, on our civilians, on our children in the last month. The goal of this operation was to protect our people from the threat of terror tunnels built to send death squads into Israel, to commit terrorist atrocities against Israel’s civilians, to kidnap and to kill.

Israel deeply regrets every civilian casualty, every single one. We do not target them; we do not seek them. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas; our enemy are the other terrorist organizations trying to kill our people. And we've taken extraordinary circumstances and measures to avoid civilian casualties. The tragedy of Gaza is that it is ruled by Hamas – a tyrannical and fanatical terror group that relishes civilian casualties. They want civilian casualties. They use them as PR fodder. So it’s not that they don't want them; they want them. And they pretty much say so. Indeed Hamas has adopted a strategy that abuses and sacrifices Gaza’s civilians. They use them as human shields; they endanger them and deliberately increase the death toll. They fire their rockets at Israel from schools, from hospitals, from mosques. You've just seen that. From urban neighborhoods, and right next to schools where journalists are staying. You can discover that for yourself.

Of course nearly everyone says that they support Israel's right to defend itself, and we appreciate those who say this. But there are those who refuse to recognize or to let Israel exercise that right. They would allow Hamas to attack with impunity, because they say they're firing from schools or from mosques or from hospitals and Israel should not take action against them. That's obviously a mistake. It's a moral mistake. It's an operational mistake. Because that would validate and legitimize Hamas's use of human shields, and it would hand an enormous victory to terrorists everywhere and a devastating effect to the free societies that are fighting terrorism.

If this were to happen, more and more civilians will die around the world, because this is a testing period now. Can a terrorist organization fire thousands of rockets at cities of a democracy? Can a terrorist organization embed itself in civilian areas? Can it dig terror tunnels from civilian areas? Can it do so with impunity because it counts on the victimized country to respond as it must, as any country would, and then be blamed for it? Can we accept a situation in which the terrorists would be exonerated and the victims accused?

This is the issue that stands not only before the international community today regarding Israel; it stands before the international community with a wave of radical terrorists that are now seizing vast cities, civilian populations and doing exactly the tactic that Hamas is doing. That's exactly what ISIL is doing, what Hezbollah is doing, what Boko Haram is doing. What Hamas is doing is what is al-Qaeda is doing. And the test now is not merely the test for the international community's attitude towards Israel - an embattled democracy using legitimate means against these double war crimes of targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians. The test is for the civilized world itself, how it is able to defend itself.

Israel accepted and Hamas rejected the Egyptian ceasefire proposal of July 15th. Now I want you to know that at that time, the conflict had claimed some 185 lives. Only on Monday night did Hamas finally agree to that very same proposal, which went into effect yesterday morning. That means that 90%, a full 90% of the fatalities in this conflict could have been avoided had Hamas not rejected then the ceasefire that it accepts now.

Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians, and Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza's general demilitarization. That is the sure way to guarantee that this conflict will not repeat itself. And I'm very glad that Secretary Kerry and others have put forward the need to demilitarize Gaza. This is a long-standing Palestinian obligation yet to be fulfilled. Setting anew this long-term goal is important for Israel, it's important for the people of Gaza and for all of us who want to see an end to the violence and an end to the suffering.

Every civilian casualty is a tragedy. A tragedy of Hamas's own working. I think the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel put it best when he said, "Hamas is engaging in child sacrifice. And this is something for which it must be held accountable. For the sake of all our children, it must not be allowed to get away with this."


Question: "[Inaudible] I wanted to ask: You mentioned the Israeli [inaudible]. That was before the ground operation, before the tunnels [inaudible] and I wanted to ask, will you therefore, if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire at that stage, the tunnels would not have been dealt with and I wanted to ask therefore, people are asking, was it a strategic goal, was it the goal of this operation, was Israel kind of improvising, was there a strategic plan here or were you [inaudible].

And a second question if I may, we've seen since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdair, since the West Bank operations, since the Gaza operation, they are rioting, attacks [inaudible] violence in Jerusalem, riots in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and I just wondered if there is concern at the spread of the violence [inaudible]."

PM Netanyahu: "Thank you. We started dealing with the tunnels - first of all, we were going to deal with the threats posed from Gaza either by military means or by diplomatic means - one of the two or both. We began dealing with the first tunnel before the Egyptian initiative. I don't know if you're aware of it, but we had information about an impending attack from one terror tunnel and we took action before we had the air attacks on our, before we had the air attacks on Gaza in response to their rocketing attacks. We actually dealt with one tunnel.

If we could have dealt with the rest of the tunnels through the Egyptian proposal, which had an immediate ceasefire as we have now, and both sides could raise the topics and specifically the issue of security would be released. That was mentioned there. When we said security, we meant obviously that we would bring up the question of the tunnels: could we deal with it through non-military means and the other threat against Israel - and that's preferable. As it turned out, Hamas rejected this and therefore we had to deal with them in military means. So we addressed the other tunnels, in addition to the one we had already addressed with military means by doing the, by actually going in.

That first tunnel was struck from the air. We didn't know that it achieved the result and it's very hard to achieve that result from the air. You either achieve it by agreement or you achieve it by actually going in to the other side, finding the points of origin of the tunnel or a point of origin, identify the trajectory of the tunnel and then dismantling it, destroying it through various means. And that's basically what we did. If we could have done it diplomatically, fine. If not, we did it militarily and the army just told us that they completed this activity and then we went out. We went in to deal with the tunnels; we went out after we finished dealing with the tunnels.

[Regarding the Jerusalem question] Well, obviously we're concerned. We hope that everyone, everyone will work now to calm the situation. That has been our goal from the very beginning in Jerusalem, everywhere, in the Palestinian areas. We don't need to see loss of life there anymore than we want to see it on the Gaza front. I want to make sure that - you mentioned the Temple Mount - so I want to make sure that everyone understands that Israel respects and will continue to respect the status quo on the Temple Mount. We know that there are arrangements there, including the traditional role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and we are not about to change it."

CNN: "Prime Minister, [unclear] for CNN. First of all, the IDF has suffered the largest casualties yet in any Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We understand 61 soldiers killed, three civilians. We've seen more than 1,800 people killed in Gaza, 900 or almost 1,000 of which are civilians, estimated. Do you really feel that your actions, Israel's actions were proportionate? And were you using the appropriate precision weapons even if Hamas is using them as human shields?"

PM Netanyahu: "Why don't you ask the first question? Let me answer that, then you can ask the second question. Why don't we do that? So first of all, the answer to both your questions is yes, I think it was justified, I think it was proportional and that doesn't in any way take away from the deep regret for, we have for the loss of a single civilian. We've gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they have civilian casualties, as you've just seen.

Now, let's imagine your country - it could be any country, could be the US, could be Britain, could be Germany, France, India, you name it. Let's imagine your country attacked by 3,500 rockets. Your territory is infiltrated by death squads. What would you do? What would you demand that your government do to protect you and your family? You'd demand that and you'd be right because security, protecting the people, is the first obligation of any government. But what if the rockets are fired from civilian areas? And the tunnels come from schools, from mosques, from private houses where civilians live? Should you then not take action?

Do the terrorists have immunity because of the fear that some civilians will unfortunately get hurt?

Let me tell you what I think disproportionality is: It's not acting to defend your people and giving the terrorists a license to kill. I think that's disproportionate and that's wrong.

Financial Times: "Thanks very much. Mr. Prime Minister, are you prepared to give Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority a leading role in the post-war order in Gaza? And if so, can you talk about that, specifics, including policing the borders?"

PM Netanyahu: "We have cooperated and are cooperating with the Palestinian Authority on matters that you raised. There are other matters as well, and the answer is that we are cooperating with them and are prepared to see a role for them.

Q: [Inaudible]

PM Netanyahu: "We're dealing with that right now. I think it's important in the reconstruction of Gaza, in assuring the humanitarian aid and also the security questions that arise, that we have these discussions and the cooperation with them. And in fact, the ceasefire was coordinated, among other things, with them. It came from Egypt, but they were aware of it and they were speaking to, for the factions, as you know.

As far as the humanitarian aid, since I mentioned it: You know, we've given 2,000, we've passed roughly 2,000 trucks of humanitarian aid during the last month or so in which this conflict raged. We even gave humanitarian aid - most of these trucks came during the fire. A lot of them came during the ceasefire, the humanitarian ceasefire that Hamas refused to recognize for its own people. It's quite amazing. We have to do the ceasefire, the humanitarian ceasefire efforts when Hamas doesn't do it so we even sometimes, many times actually, unilaterally called ceasefire humanitarian pauses, which they didn't recognize, but we put in the trucks.

We opened a field hospital right on the Gaza passage, in the Erez Crossing on our side, and we called Palestinians who have a problem with hospitals that were being used by Hamas as terrorist sites, as command centers, as firing posts, and we said, okay, we'll open a field hospital and we did on our side. And you know what Hamas did? It prevented and warned Palestinians not to go there. Well some of them straggled through somehow and we dealt with them. And we are now dealing with our people to address the fuel, throughout the conflict, fuel, electricity stoppages and so on.

So Israel is going all out on humanitarian effort, and we're prepared to do more and we think more should be done. We just hope that Hamas will start caring for its people and stop preventing humanitarian aid for them, stop sacrificing them as human shields, stop shooting them when they protest because that's what happens when people protest and they say to Hamas, "What have you done to us?" Well, they just execute them. Just as they prevent journalists from putting out the full truth and journalists, justifiably are concerned. I can understand that.

And Hamas, Hamas does incredible things, just incredible things. There is a report - it's not my report, it's the Journal of Palestinian Studies in 2012. Note the year. It's a few years ago and they've since, they've done more things. Hamas officials, according to the Journal of Palestinian Studies, reported that at least 160 children had been killed digging the tunnels. There is something fundamentally wrong here. Hamas is sacrificing its people, sacrificing its children and it should not be allowed to get away with it. These are tragedies. The loss of a single child is a tragedy. The loss of mothers, women, families, is a tragedy. But this tragedy should be put squarely where the responsibility for it belongs. The responsibility for this tragedy belongs with Hamas. It's a deliberate strategy."

Washington Post: "Mr. Prime Minister, you mentioned Secretary Kerry's comments supporting demilitarization of Gaza. I'm wondering if you also support what he said about the need to think bigger now, to use the Cairo talks as an opportunity to think more broadly about a two-state solution and if so, what will Israel do to move in that direction?"

PM Netanyahu: "First of all, I had a very good conversation with John, with Secretary Kerry today. We work very closely with him and with the US Administration, with President Obama, throughout this operation and before. And there are reports of the substance and the tone of our relationship that are distorted. They don't capture the essence of the common values that bind our societies together and bind our governments together. And I appreciate the support that the United States has shown for Israel's right to self-defense and the appropriation that I asked for, for an additional 225 million dollars of support for Iron Dome. I think these are all very important things for which the people of Israel are deeply grateful and I want to express that.

I think the Secretary's statement on demilitarization as a strategic long-term goal is very important. I think he's right that there are opportunities now, perhaps opportunities that we have not seen before with a realignment of important parties in the Middle East to be able to fashion a new reality, one more conducive to the end of violence, to the establishment of calm, a sustainable peace or at least a sustainable quiet which can lead to other things. That is yet to be seen, but that is a goal I think worthy of exploration and pursuit. That's my goal."
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Israel agrees to Egyptian ceasefire proposal

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, 3,360 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.

The 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is holding as it enters its second day, with no rockets being fired at Israel. All IDF forces have moved out of the Gaza Strip.

August 5

MFA Spokesperson: "Israel has notified Egypt that it has agreed to their ceasefire proposal." The 72-hour ceasefire went into effect at 8:00 AM.

IDF Spokesperson: All ground troops will have pulled out of the Gaza Strip by the start of the ceasefire. The IDF will maintain defensive positions near the Gaza border. Israel completed the destruction of 32 cross-border tunnels.

In the last hour before the ceasefire, rocket barrages are fired at Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba, Rishon Lezion, Gush Etzion, Bethlehem and Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem.
An M-75 rocket fired from Gaza in the minutes before the ceasefire took effect landed near a mosque, striking a home in Beit Sahour, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.


August 4

Israel authorized a humanitarian window to take place in the Gaza Strip from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The IDF will continue to neutralize the Hamas tunnel network and will respond to any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers.


August 3

IDF Spokesperson: On the evening of Monday, July 28, IDF forces operating in the area of the Karni Crossing engaged terrorists emerging from a terror tunnel inside Israeli territory. Five soldiers were killed. During the operational activity to neutralize the tunnel, IDF forces found a wide array of weaponry, including rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, explosives, launchers, and AK-47 assault rifles. In addition, three motorcycles were found, ready for use, facing the opening of the tunnel into Israeli territory, intended for use in a complex terror attack on Israeli residential communities in close proximity to the Gaza border.


At 11:30 pm, a special committee led by the IDF Chief Rabbi announced the death of Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, an infantry officer in the Givati Brigade who was killed in battle in the Gaza Strip on Friday.


Over the past 24 hours, the IDF struck 200 terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels, weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, and command and control centers. Among the targets was a Hamas military wing facility that was used for research and development of weapon manufacturing located within the Islamic University. In addition, weapon caches and Hamas command and training facilities concealed within five Gazan mosques were targeted. IAF aircraft targeted the launcher used to fire at the Tel Aviv area earlier this morning.


August 1

Hamas fired at IDF forces in southern Gaza at 9:30 this morning in violation of the humanitarian ceasefire. IDF soldier suspected kidnapped. Extensive search underway.

Two IDF soldiers were killed in the suspected kidnapping of 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin in Rafah.

PM Netanyahu speaks with US Secretary Kerry

Once again, Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza have violated the ceasefire to which they committed themselves to the UN Secretary-General and US Secretary of State Kerry.

UN special envoy Robert Serry issues statement: He was informed by Israel of "a serious incident this morning" during the truce involving "a tunnel behind IDF lines in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip." If confirmed, "this would constitute a serious violation of the humanitarian ceasefire in place since 8 am this morning by Gazan militant factions, which should be condemned in the strongest terms."

White House press calls the reported kidnapping of an IDF soldier by Hamas a "barbaric violation of ceasefire agreement" negotiated by the United States and United Nations.

US President Obama: "I have - unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third almost minutes after a ceasefire had been announced...
I have been very clear throughout this crisis that Israel has a right to defend itself. No country can tolerate missiles raining down on its cities and people having to rush to bomb shelters every twenty minutes or half hour. No country can or would tolerate tunnels being dug under their land that can be used to launch terrorist attacks...
It's going to be very hard to put a ceasefire back together again if Israelis and the international community can't feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a ceasefire commitment. And it's not particularly relevant whether a particular leader in Hamas ordered this abduction, the point is that when they sign onto a ceasefire, they're claiming to speak for all the Palestinian factions. If they don't have control of them and just moments after a ceasefire's signed you have Israeli soldiers being killed and captured, then it's hard for the Israelis to feel confident that a ceasefire can actually be honored. "

US Secretary Kerry: "The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another. It was an outrageous violation of the cease-fire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations. Hamas, which has security control over the Gaza Strip, must immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier... The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the reported violation by Hamas of the mutually agreed humanitarian ceasefire which commenced this morning. He is shocked and profoundly disappointed by these developments... Such moves call into question the credibility of Hamas' assurances to the United Nations. The Secretary-General demands the immediate and unconditional release of the captured soldier."

1:00am: Israel accepts humanitarian ceasefire

In accordance with the authority granted by the Security Cabinet to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, Israel has accepted the UN/US proposal for a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning 8:00 am Friday, 1 August 2014.
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Second terror attack in Jerusalem in a day

Terrorist opened fire near the campus of Hebrew University

A man was seriously wounded near the Mount Scopus tunnels in Jerusalem by a Palestinian terrorists. The attack took place three hours after a man was killed and six injured when terrorist went on rampage in industrial digger in Jerusalem.

MDA paramedics said the wounded man was an Israeli in his 20's he was being taken to a local hospital.
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Terror attack in Jerusalem: One killed and six injured when terrorist goes on a killing rampage in industrial digger

Police officer shoots and kills the terrorist.

A man was killed and six other people were wounded when a terrorist went on a rampage in an industrial digger in central Jerusalem.

The terrorist hit the man as well as a bus and a car before being shot by a Police Officer who was in the area.

The terrorist was named as Mohammed Naif Ja'abis. Local media said he was from the East Jerusalem. Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld confirmed that the terrorist was an Arab man in his 20s from East Jerusalem.

Mohammed Naif Ja'abis left the construction site in the digger and after driving some 50 meters hit the bus and then he attacked the pedestrian several meters from the bus.

The wounded were taken to Hadassah Hospital.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat: "No one should take the law into their own hands, and anyone who does so should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the Jerusalem mayor said.

Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich praised the police: "The police identified him and the threat and responded quickly - the result is clear."


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Hamas Holiday Terror Attack Planned For Jerusalem Thwarted by IDF

Israel Security Agency has reported that a Hamas cell from Ramallah planned a terror attack that was to take place in Jerusalem over the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur holidays in September. The attack was thwarted by a Givati Brigade soldiers. The Hamas cell had also been producing rockets.

A joint effort between the Israel Police, Border Police, IDF and the ISA resulted in the arrest last month of several members of Hamas’ military infrastructure. The terrorists were from the Jerusalem and Ramallah branches of Hamas’ military wing. They were apprehended during advanced stages of planning a bomb attack in Jerusalem, which they intended to carry out during the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Holidays.

The leader of the group was Hamdi Hasneen Hamdi Romana, born in 1991, whose father, Hasneen Romana, was one of the leaders of Hamas’ military wing in Ramallah.

During the investigation, the ISA uncovered a weapons laboratory at the home of Romana, with chemicals used to make explosives, and educational materials with instructions on explosives production. The ISA said that during their search they were in contact with a laboratory worker and two residents of Ramallah who provided him with chemicals in order to produce explosives. The three were detained for questioning and pleaded guilty to the charges.
The investigation also found that the terrorist cell had been planning other attacks, including: An attempt to harm IDF soldiers in Ramallah through a booby-trapped house; intention to produce rockets and launch them at Israeli communities near Ramallah; and an attempt to procure guns to fire at IDF soldiers at the Himza checkpoint in North-East Jerusalem.

The ISA emphasized that the newly-exposed terrorist cell demonstrates the high motivation of terrorists in the West Bank, lead by Hamas, to carry out attacks in Israel.

Increase in terrorism
Members of the terrorist cell were arrested by soldiers of the Givati ​​Brigade. “The infrastructure was very extensive and it took about two weeks to catch all of the members”, said the Tzabar battalion commander, Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi. “We carried out the raid of the house of the head of the cell in the heart of Ramallah and arrested two members, and through them we found the other members. The material we found there was advanced.”

During the raid, residents of the neighborhood rioted in order to prevent the arrest. “We faced resistance even within the house,” said Lt. Col. Hajbi. “But the soldiers came prepared, and ready. We arrived with a reserve force and an extraction force, and we entered under maximum security. We isolated the operating space, and prevented public disturbances. The extraction had to be done swiftly.”

The Tzabar Battalion began operating in the Ramallah area in recent months. According to Lt. Col. Hajbi, last month saw a significant increase in terrorism in the area. “Arrests and raids were carried out every night to reduce the chance of terrorist attacks,” he added. “About a week and a half ago we carried out a similar raid. The battalion’s spirits are high and we will continue to work hard during the upcoming nights.”
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