President Rivlin addresses memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers of Operation Protective Edge
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Rivlin: “Gaza will not be rehabilitated as long as it is run by Hamas, a terrorist organization that works to destroy Israel, which does not respect human life, does not respect human rights, and is a murderous and cruel organization.”
“We are not complacent. We know that Operation Protective Edge will probably not be the last confrontation. We are fighting a terrorist organization, a brutal, extreme, and murderous terrorist organization, and we are prepared and ready to respond to every scenario and every threat”
President Reuven Rivlin spoke this evening (Thursday), and laid a wreath, at a ceremony commemorating the fallen servicemen and women of Operation Protective Edge, marking the third anniversary of the conflict.
“In Operation Protective Edge, we fought for our home, for the kindergartens and the schools, the roads, the paths, the orange groves and the fields, the frontline and the home front. It was a fight for normalcy, for our daily lives. A moral and just campaign, waged by a sovereign state that seeks to protect its citizens,” the President stressed, and went on to speak of the scores of rockets fired daily at the residents of the south, of the tunnels dug under kindergartens, libraries and community centers, and of the horrific scenarios that were prevented, heroically and with a high price.
The President continued, “We will no doubt have to continue to learn the lessons, some of them difficult and painful, but Protective Edge brought quiet to the area. The three years since have been the quietest three years on the southern front in the last decade. We do not forget the contribution of the IDF and the security forces, nor the contribution of the citizens who have shown great strength over the years, and have stood firm and determined on the home front.”
The President spoke of the constant terror attacks perpetrated against Israel, and stressed, “We are not complacent. We know that Operation Protective Edge will probably not be the last confrontation. We are fighting a terrorist organization, a brutal, extreme, and murderous terrorist organization, and we are prepared and ready to respond to every scenario and every threat.”
The President added, “The rehabilitation of Gaza is an Israeli interest, and I have no doubt that the public in Gaza yearns for it, but the rehabilitation of Gaza requires the return of our sons and the cessation of all hostilities against Israel. Gaza will not be rehabilitated as long as it is run by Hamas; a terrorist organization that works to destroy Israel, which does not respect human life, does not respect human rights, a murderous and cruel organization.”
He turned to the bereaved families and said, “You lost that which was most precious to you,” and added, “Your pain is immeasurable. Three years after Operation Protective Edge, there are others for whom the battle is not yet over. Those injured in the campaign, continue to fight the war after the war.” The President emphasized Israel's deep commitment to seeing the return of Lt. Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul, “This year, Herzl Shaul, Oron's father, passed away. Herzl asked me to promise, and I promised him, that we would continue to work for the return of Oron and Hadar. And here, in the Memorial Hall, we reiterate that promise, that the State of Israel will continue and fulfill its mission to bring Oron and Hadar home for burial in Israel. This is our moral and public obligation.” The President concluded by speaking of Paratrooper commander, Major Hagai Ben Ari, who died in January of his injuries after being critically wounded in Operation Protective Edge. He said he was, “A hero in battle, and a hero in the battle after the battle.” The President said, “May our children and loved ones be remembered in our hearts forever.”