Rivlin in the Gaza borderlands
Rivlin in the Gaza borderlandsMark Neiman/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin travelled through the areas surrounding Gaza today, marking two years since Operation Protective Edge.

The President was escorted by Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, GOC of the Southern Command Major General Eyal Zamir, and Gaza Division Commander Brigadier General Yehuda Fuchs.

Rivlin was briefed at Re'im Military Base on on recent anti-terror operations in the region, and IDF activities these past few days, since a rocket was shot from Gaza to the town of Sderot.

During the visit, Rivlin examined a captured terror tunnel, and discussed the construction of an underground barrier to end the tunnel problem.

Afterward, Rivlin met with dozens of soldiers from the Bedouin Patrol Battalion, Combat Engineers, and the Givati Brigade at Black Arrow Observation Point, who represented the IDF servicemen in the region.

"I return south every few months, and meet here again the Gaza surroundings, which essentially surround everyone's Israel," Rivlin said.

"Two years after Protective Edge, the south has returned to prosperity. The IDF protects the [border lands] in an optimal manner, and the [border lands] respond with a loving hug."

Rivlin commented on the rocket which struck Sderot two days ago, and the IDF's stern response. "As we clarified yesterday, we will not tolerate any breach of the quiet, and against any such violation we will respond immediately and with force. On both sides of the fence, there are citizens who want to live in peace, and we will make certain that Israel's citizens will continue to live in tranquility."

"We do not seek war," the President emphasized, "Yet after meeting these past few hours with our wonderful commanders, I know that if it were forced on us, our side has the most prepared and professional military one could ask. The plans which were presented to me, which indicate operational sophistication and power, which are the product of long and in-depth development, sharpen my knowledge that there are those whom [we can] rely upon.

Rivlin asked to thank the soldiers for their efforts and service, "In my name, and in the name of the nation of Israel, I want to thank commanders, female soldiers, male soldiers. The quiet in your sector is unbelievable. The children and families who vacation here in the summer do so safely in your merit."

Speaking to the media, the president said, "The IDF is ready, prepared, and ahead of any threat, whether from above or below the ground, in order to prevent any trouble not just on the border, but in the entire country."

When asked about the trial of Elor Azariya, who is being tried for shooting a wounded terrorist in Hevron, Rivlin replied, "The IDF is one of the most moral militaries in the world, even through the complex challenges which it faces. The IDF is also the national military, and answers to the laws of the State of Israel, and operates within them. These matters are clear."

Rivlin in the Gaza borderlands
Rivlin in the Gaza borderlandsMark Neiman/GPO