Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks during press
Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks during press Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he expects "full support" from world leaders for Israel's military operation to end rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, after Hamas rejected ceasefire proposals and fired a barrage of rockets at Israeli towns and cities Tuesday.

Speaking before a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Netanyahu pointed out that Israel had accepted the ceasefire, which stipulated that both sides should immediately end hostilities. Hamas claimed the truce amounted to a "surrender" on its part, since it did not include the conditions they had stipulated for a ceasefire - which included prisoner releases and a lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on Gaza - and responded by escalating its attacks against Israeli civilians.

"Our goal was and remains putting an end to rocket fire from Gaza on our cities, and providing the citizens of Israel with the sustained peace and quiet which they are entitled to," the prime minister said at a pre-meeting press conference.

Turning to the German foreign minister, he pointed out that it was Israel's right under international law to defend itself from attacks on its population.

"I know that you know that no country would sit idly by while its civilian population was subjected to terrorist rocket fire - Israel is no exception," he said.

The prime minister was speaking earlier Tuesday, prior to his decision to order the IDF to resume strikes on terrorist positions in Gaza after at least 47 rockets were fired on Israel. He told Steinmeier that a Hamas rejection of the ceasefire would force Israel to "continue and intensify" its military operations, and that such an eventuality would be a legitimate act of self-defense on Israel's part.

"For this we expect full support from the responsible members of the international community," Netanyahu said, while thanking world leaders "who unequivocally condemned Hamas" for targeting Israeli civilians and "supported Israel's right to self-defense."