8:48PM IL: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the nation in a live televised broadcast following the announced ceasefire compelled by the United States, brokered with the assistance of Egypt.
Channel 2 TV News released a survey ahead of the broadcast, signaling that 70% of the nation opposes a ceasefire with Hamas at this time. 24% are in favor and 6% are undecided. As the prime minister begins his address, just minutes ahead of the 21:00 starting time for the ceasefire, sirens continue to wail throughout southern Israel.
Following is the crux of the remarks made a short time ago by the prime minster, defense minister and foreign minister. Their remarks were brief and they did not take questions from the media. They did not address the terms of the ceasefire at this early stage, which is being reported by the Israeli media as being an unwritten agreement.
The Homefront Command announces that most schools and businesses in the 40km range from Gaza that have been shut due to the warfare will remain shut tomorrow, Thursday, 8 Kislev 5773 as the fragile ceasefire will have to earn the trust of the civilians and IDF alike.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel began the operation eight days ago after the attacks from Gaza become intolerable. I warned that our response would be a powerful one, a response that would enact a heavy price. They did not believe my words. They erred. We destroyed thousands of rockets, including most of the long range one capable of hitting Gush Dan along with destroying the Hamas infrastructure.
I would like to thank US President Barak Obama for his support of our right to defend ourselves and throughout Operation Pillar of Defense. Thanks to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her efforts as well.
Together with President Obama I decided to act against Hamas’ weapons, the weaponry supplied to terrorist from Iran. Over recent days we got a look at just how well armed Hamas has become. Being a responsible government, we continued to weigh the military, defensive and political aspects of the operation as it was taking place.
At this time, the correct thing for the State of Israel to do is to see a prolonged ceasefire. As prime minister I maintain this ultimate responsibility to maintain the security of the nation. In the past week there were fatalities and in the name of the nation I send my condolences and wishes for a recovery to the injured.
To my colleagues Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, thank you – we worked as a team, as with the Forum of Nine Ministers.
Thanks to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Shin Bet Chief Cohen for their excellent work. In the name of the nation a thanks to the officers and soldiers, pilots, intelligence community and reservists who left their families. I admire the mayors and municipal leaders who maintained cool and calm. Above all, the people of Israel. We have a strong people and military.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
The operation began seven days and five hours ago. The IDF was responsible to restore our deterrence by hitting Hamas hard and dismantling its infrastructure with minimal damage to our Homefront and minimal collateral damage to innocent residents of Gaza. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were hit hard. Jabari and others like him were killed. Over 130 killed and over 1,000 wounded in over 1,300 sorties.
Weapons storage, launching and manufacturing apparatus are gone to a great extent. The Iron Dome operated against over 1,400 rocket launches, firing over 400 times with an outstanding response towards protecting the homefront.
Thanks to the Obama administration and to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for the ongoing support and assistance.
70 rockets hit urban area and two soldiers and four civilians were killed, other injured.
Tens of thousands of reservists were called up in the event a ground invasion would be required. At this time southern residents are still under fire and in the coming hours and days they will have to continue showing this fortitude.
I would like to express my admiration for the IDF, Chief of Staff Ganz, OC Southern Commander Russo and Air Force Command Eshel and all of their officers along with Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen and Homefront Defense Minister Avi Dichter.
Special thanks to the citizens that endured the warfare, to the reservists who time after time respond to the call, always willing to put all else aside.
We are heading for a difficult period and this will not be a simple matter…
We may be required to again in the future, an even more expanded operation. We acted responsibility and calmly and my thanks to the prime minister and foreign minister, with the latter dealing with the international community.
The achievement is an important one.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
What occurred was three dimensional, military, politically and diplomatically. Thanks to President Obama, EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and the international community towards bringing an end to the attacks from Gaza. I believe the mission was successful.
This was a synchronized operation between all agencies involved. Without a doubt the slanted picture painted by the international media and the life, we worked like synonymously here and the mission was accomplished.
The people were ready to endure and to remain in shelters. A thanks to the IDF and security agencies. A special thanks to PM Netanyahu for running this and to DM Barak for his major role in the operation.
I believe the test is not behind us and we will have to measure compliance. I think it is important to site the role of Egypt in handling this and achieving a ceasefire, for President Morsi is not in an easy place and despite all the criticism he used his influence to act responsibly and work towards actualizing the ceasefire.