Statements by Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz

 

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued the following statements to the media at the Kirya in Tel Aviv this evening (Monday, 8 August 2022):

 

Prime Minister Lapid:

 

"In Operation Breaking Dawn, Israel reclaimed initiative. It restored Israel’s deterrence. All our goals were achieved. The entire senior military command of Islamic Jihad in Gaza was successfully targeted within three days. The strength and ingenuity of the Israel Defense Forces dealt a devastating blow to the enemy.

 

The resilience and responsible conduct of the residents of communities near the Gaza Strip and the Israeli home front, alongside the active protection provided by our Iron Dome batteries, saved lives and prevented casualties. We send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured.

 

At the same time as the operation in Gaza, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the IDF carried out widespread arrests of Islamic Jihad operatives in Judea and Samaria. The Israeli government has maintained its forceful policy of zero tolerance for terrorism. Anyone who tries to harm us - will pay with their life.

 

Throughout the operation, special efforts were made to prevent harm to civilians. The State of Israel will not apologize for using force to protect its citizens, but the death of innocent civilians, especially children, is heartbreaking.

 

I want to speak directly to the residents of the Gaza Strip and tell them: There is another way. We know how to protect ourselves from anyone who threatens us, but we also know how to provide employment, a livelihood and a life of dignity to those who wish to live by our side in peace.

 

There is another way to live. The way of the Abraham Accords, of the Negev Summit, of innovation and prosperity, of regional development and joint projects. The choice is yours. Your future is in your hands.

 

I wish to convey my deep appreciation to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, ISA Director Ronen Bar, Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, and to the thousands of women and men under their command. The people of Israel can rely on them. Israel’s security is in good hands.

 

I also want to thank the opposition and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, for showing responsibility and backing the government throughout the operation.

 

I thank President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Abbas Kamel for their central and crucial role in reaching a ceasefire and maintaining regional stability. We are continuing our work with the Egyptians to bring our boys home. Our job will not be completed until Hadar and Oron of blessed memory, and Avera and Hisham are back home.

 

Yesterday in Sderot, I met with the heads of the regional councils adjacent to the Gaza Strip. They are strong and their residents are strong. The entire people of Israel support them. Under the leadership of Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, we are already preparing an organized assistance and compensation package for these residents. This government will not disappear from their lives the day after the shooting stops.

 

Tisha B'Av events were held as planned. Despite the security tensions, we decided that things that have been done in previous years on the Temple Mount and at the Western Wall should take place this year as well. I thank Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, the police and border police for their impressive efforts.

 

The end of Tisha B'Av, together with the end of Operation Breaking Dawn, are a good opportunity to remember the fact that our enemies are from the outside, not within; we must avoid senseless hatred and remember that the best way to face the challenges before us is to face them together.

 

Thank you."

 

Defense Minister Gantz:

 

"Good evening,

 

As a result of our initiative, operational activities and close cooperation between the political echelon and operational levels, we have reached three achievements during Operation Breaking Dawn:

 

1.        Removing the imminent threat from Gaza.

2.        Maintaining our freedom of action in all arenas.

3.        Maintaining deterrence, while sending a clear message to our enemies in each of the arenas: Israel is determined to maintain its sovereignty and protect its citizens.

 

We constantly conduct operational activities in order to maintain the security of the State of Israel, ensure stability in the Middle East and reduce attempts by our enemies to strengthen.

 

In the future, should it be necessary, we will launch a preemptive strike in order to protect the citizens of Israel, and defend its sovereignty and infrastructure. This is true on every front. From Tehran to Khan Yunis.

 

Our military achievement rests on operational and intelligence capabilities that we have built over the years, on our precise capabilities, on our outstanding air defense system and on responsible and determined decision-making.

 

In the last year, since Operation ‘Guardian of the Walls,’ (which instilled high deterrence in the area), Israel has a clear policy: on one hand, we operate forcefully against any violation of our sovereignty and conduct both defensive and offensive activities in order to thwart threats in all arenas. On the other hand, we have a responsible civilian, humanitarian policy that focuses on strengthening moderate forces in the region at the expense of terrorist organizations.

 

I would like to emphasize – the Hamas terrorist organization bears territorial responsibility in the Gaza strip. Wherever this responsibility is not implemented, we will operate forcefully and use all the means at our disposal – both military and civilian. We will operate in accordance with our need and considerations."

 

Israel Nitzan

Deputy Consul General

Consulate General of Israel New York

800 Second Avenue

New York City, N.Y. 10017

Office: 212-499-5454

Twitter: @IsraelNitzan