Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained on Thursday evening that the ground operation in Gaza was meant to hit the terrorist tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory.
In a statement issued after he and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed the IDF to embark on a ground assault into Gaza, Netanyahu noted that the operation was a direct result of Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
“The directive for ground action was approved by the Security Cabinet after Israel agreed to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, whereas Hamas rejected it and continued firing rockets at Israeli cities,” said the statement.
“Hamas also did not honor the humanitarian ceasefire initiated by the UN and continued firing at Israeli cities during the lull. In light of Hamas' criminal and relentless aggression, as well as the dangerous attempt to infiltrate Israeli territory, Israel must act to defend its citizens,” the statement added.
“Operation Protective Edge will continue until it reaches its goal – restoring quiet to Israel's citizens for a prolonged period, while inflicting a significant blow to the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations,” concluded Netanyahu’s statement.