Yaalon: Palestinians Wanted 5-Day Lull, We Agreed

Defense Minister tells NY governor Cuomo about hardship of negotiating with 'five headed' Palestinian team.

Yedidya Ben Or, Gil Ronen ,

Cuomo, Yaalon
Cuomo, Yaalon
Alon Bason, Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon hosted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his bureau Thursday. Cuomo is in Israel on a visit of identification with the Jewish state, and is accompanied by state senators and business leaders.

In the course of the visit, Yaalon showed the visitors videos of Hamas using civilian human shields when firing at Israeli civilians, and of terror tunnels that were dug for attacking Israel.

"It was not clear if we could conduct this meeting this morning,” Yaalon told his guests, “because of the changes in the situation. Yesterday was a clear example of how the terrorists operate. The Palestinian delgation in Cairo asked at around 11 p.m. to extend the ceasefire. They have many problems within the delegation. This is a delegation with five heads, which includes the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and various Hamas factions. They asked to extend the ceasefire and we did so.”

"A short time later we were hit by six rockets. Our air force responded immediately. Till now, from about 1:00 a.m., we have had quiet, a ceasefire. Do they intend to abide by it? Well. If not, we are ready to respond. To deal with it.”

"We are doing all that we can to avoid hitting uninvolved civilians, yet we are the ones who are criticized. Now we have to deal with various international commissions. We have not only a military challenge but a moral one, yet we are the ones who get criticized.

"In the year before Operation Protective Edge,” he added, “we uncovered foour terror tunnels. That is why I did not allow cement to enter the Strip, and I was criticized for it by the UN. They demanded that I allow in cement, but I explained that when they use cement to build terror tunnels against us, I do not intend to allow cement into the Strip. Period.”