“The battle is not over,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the conflict with the Gaza Strip-ruling Hamas on Wednesday.
Netanyahu was speaking at an official state ceremony for Israel’s annual Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism. The speech came after a weekend of fierce fighting between Israel and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups in Gaza.
Hundreds of rockets were fired at Israel’s southern communities over a two-day span, killing four civilians. A ceasefire was announced on Monday.
“We are carefully weighing our next steps to ensure Israel’s security,” Netanyahu pledged, according to Hebrew news site Walla.
Speaking directly to the families of the four latest victims of Palestinian violence, Netanyahu said that he knew “the feeling of absence and longing creates a deep gap in your souls.”
“What a moral abyss there is between us and the murderers,” he said of the Gaza terrorists. “We want only to build, and they only want to destroy. They are prepared to destroy their livelihood and coexistence” to do this.
“We mourn,” he asserted, “and they turn terrorists into heroes. The method reveals the goal: if they could, they would annihilate us all.”
“When these terrorists come to power, is there freedom there?” Netanyahu asked. “Time and time again, they create tyrannical regimes that oppress their people.”
“Murderers of innocent civilians — children and infants, they are not fighting for freedom or liberty, but for destruction and tyranny,” he said, according to Hebrew news site Mako.
Netanyahu called on the international community to come together against terrorism, saying, “The time has arrived for the enlightened world to act on a united front against this barbaric extremism.”
“We understand this very well,” he stated. “We have been fighting terrorism for a hundred years and it did not break our spirit.”
“We will continue to build Israel,” he pledged, “to build and to reside in our land.”