Update before Shabbat from Mercaz

Israel’s objective was and remains to restore sustained quiet and security for the people of Israel by eliminating rockets, shutting down terror tunnels and demilitarizing Gaza. As you read this message, attacks on Israel continue. We are steadfast in our commitment to achieve these objectives, whether militarily or diplomatically. Israel was forced into this operation in order to defend its people and its cities. We are not fighting the Palestinian people, and we are not fighting Islam- we are fighting cruel, murderous terrorism.  Israel is ready to take any action, including expanding ground operations, in order to fulfill the mission.

Israel has made repeated efforts to de-escalate the situation, only to be met with aggression and terror from Hamas. Israel was ready to accept a U.S., UN and Arab League backed cease-fire proposal, but Hamas rejected it and escalated their attacks. Hamas failed to honor two humanitarian ceasefires initiated by the UN and the Red Cross. Instead, it continued firing at Israeli cities. The international community must take a clear stand; it must hold Hamas accountable for consistently rejecting the ceasefire proposals and for starting and prolonging this conflict. Secretary Kerry is in the region working towards a cease-fire that ends the terror. We appreciate his strong commitment to peace and to reestablishing quiet and security for Israelis.

There is no red line that Hamas will not cross. They have no respect for human life, Israeli nor Palestinian. Hamas is hiding behind civilians while firing at our civilians; more than 2370 rockets have been fired towards Israel since July 8 threatening the lives of six million Israelis. This is a double war crime. Terrorists are firing rockets from heavily civilian populations including schools, mosques, and hospitals. Hamas turned hospitals into military command centers, used schools as weapons depots and placed missile batteries next to playgrounds, private homes and mosques.

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