President of the State of Israel Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin spoke today at the memorial ceremony for Operation Protective Edge's fallen on the occasion of the war's fourth anniversary. The ceremony was attended by bereaved families, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Deputy Speaker Revital Swid, and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.
"It was a war to restore and preserve the daily lives of babies, children, women, the elderly, and people in communities, on paths, on the roads, in the streets, in kindergartens, and in schools, in classes, in cafeterias, in homes, and in fields." Rivlin said. "It was a justified and moral campaign of a sovereign state that seeks to protect its citizens from terror."
The President said, "In the past few months, four years after the campaign, the relative calm that accompanied us since Protective Edge has turned into a challenge. Residents of the Gaza perimeter who protect Israel suffer from violent demonstrations, terror attacks, and fence-crossing attempts. The State of Israel is prepared for every scenario and knows how to deal with any threat. We aren't eager to fight, but we won't tolerate disrupting the routine of Israeli citizens' lives."
The President spoke of the need to rehabilitate Gaza, stressing that "we're sorry for Gazans who are dying under Hamas' yoke, the children living in distress, the absence of basic infrastructure, the lack of sanitary conditions, the shortage of food, and the difficult conditions of unemployment. Israel has been and remains the only factor in the region that transfers minimal needs for the welfare of Gaza residents and in any situation, but we must be clear: As long as Hamas continues to run Gaza acting for only one purpose - destroying the State of Israel and attacking its citizens, and holding the bodies of our soldiers who didn't return from battle - Gaza won't be rehabilitated."
At the end of his speech the President appealed to the bereaved families and to the Goldin and Shaul families: "For our routine, for our quiet, you paid the dearest price. We will remember Oron and Hadar, who went out in our name to battle and did not return and we declare again that the State of Israel is committed and will do everything in its power and all that is necessary to bring them home."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also spoke at the ceremony and said, "We continue to invest great efforts in returning our fighters - Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Not everything is overt - and that is a good thing. This commitment will continue unabated until they return, as well as our citizens who are being held in Gaza - Avre Mengistu and Hisham a-Sayyid.
"I recommend that the leaders of Gaza choose calm. If they choose escalation, the price they pay will be unbearable to them. We will act in any case out of utmost sensitivity to the lives of our fighters," added Netanyahu.