(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks, today (Tuesday, 20 February 2018), in Ashkelon, at the opening of Barzilai Medical Center‘s fortified emergency room:
“We are fortifying the hospital because this is our basic obligation – to ensure the security of our citizens. While this is the first obligation of any government, defensive actions do not obviate the need for offensive action when it is necessary.
When we left the Gaza Strip some people still had an iota of hope that the other side would choose to rise to the path of tranquil life; however, it became clear very quickly that the concerns were based in reality. The Hamas regime and the other terrorist organizations turned the Gaza Strip into a powder-keg. We build hospitals while they build terrorist tunnels and missiles.
We have no desire to harm the daily routine of the residents of Gaza but they must know that it is not Israel which is responsible for their plight. It is the extremists leading Gaza that are completely responsible.
We do not intend to ignore the attempts to violate our sovereignty or harm our soldiers and residents and we have proven this time and again. Any act of aggression by the terrorist elements will meet with a strong and determined response on our part, by the IDF and the security sources. We will not accept trickles or bombs on the fence such as we saw last weekend. Whoever hurts us – will himself be hurt. Whoever does not act to calm the situation but instead chooses to fan the flames – will bear full responsibility.
For our part, we will continue to defend the south and strengthen Ashkelon.”