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March 13, 2014 9:28 am

Netanyahu Blasts Abbas for Silence on Gaza Rocket Onslaught, Condemnation of Israel’s Response

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Twitter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for failing to condemn rocket attacks on Israel, some 64 hitting the Jewish state in the past 24 hours, even while criticizing Israel for responding.

While touring the Teva pharmaceutical plant in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim industrial zone with the British prime minister, Netanyahu said, “At a time when the Teva plant in Ashdod is producing medicines that will be delivered to Gaza, they are firing rockets from there at innocent Israelis. So how can anybody not condemn the firing of these missiles deliberately at civilians?”

He told Cameron: “Well, you’re going see President Abbas soon, only a few minutes away, and unfortunately he didn’t condemn the rocketing of our civilians. He condemned the fact that Israel interdicted and hit the three terrorists who fired mortars on us. That he did condemn. And that’s wrong.”

“I say we want to move to a genuine peace. To move to a genuine peace, we have to be very clear on our condemnation of terror and our support for the right to defend ourselves against terror. That is a crucial component of peace,” Netanyahu said.

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“Our policy in the south is clear,” he said. “We will strike at anyone who tries to attack us and will respond very forcefully to any attack. I would like to make it clear that whoever tries to attack our Purim celebrations – we will hit them strongly.”

“We did not achieve the greatest quiet in the south in recent years for nothing; this is our policy,” Netanyahu said. “It would be worthwhile for terrorists in the Gaza Strip to start internalizing the fact that they have an issue here with a very determined government and a very strong military.”

Earlier, Netanyahu held a security consultation by telephone with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Israel Defense Force Deputy Chief-of-Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Israel Security Agency Director Yoram Cohen. The Prime Minister directed all necessary action be taken in order to restore quiet in the south, his office said in a statement.

At the start of his press conference with Cameron, Netanyahu said: “The IDF is responding forcefully to the firing against the citizens of Israel by the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. If there is no calm in the south, there will be no calm in Gaza, and that’s putting it mildly. I call upon the residents of the south to follow the instructions. The IDF will do the job.”

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