JERUSALEM — Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, announcing that Israel has begun withdrawing troops from Gaza as it is believed that by Sunday, all of Hamas’ terror tunnels that Israel knows about will have been destroyed by the Army.
“The IDF has had many achievements and successes since the beginning of the operation, hitting thousands of targets, including command centers, arms factories and terrorists” Netanyahu began. “We have nothing against the citizens of Gaza that have nothing to do with terrorism. The IDF will continue its mission according to Israel’s security needs, and only according to them.”
The Prime Minister ended his remarks by saying that “there is only one place for decent, civilized people to stand, and that is to stand with Israel.”
According to the Times of Israel, Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni stressed that if Hamas continues to fire, “we’ll continue military operations in the Gaza Strip.” Livni said the time for negotiations with Hamas was over and called for renewed negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom she called an “appropriate partner for cooperation.”
After 26 days of Operation Protective Edge, approximately 1,600 Palestinians and 65 Israelis, including 63 Israeli soldiers, have been killed.
Earlier on Saturday, the family of kidnapped Israeli soldier 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin held a press conference outside their home in Tel Aviv, pleading for his son’s safe return.
“I am a reserve battalion commander… I can’t imagine that the IDF will abandon its combat soldier,” Hadar’s father, Dr. Simcha Hadar, said according to the Times of Israel. “I know it’s impossible that [IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz] would give an order to leave the Gaza Strip while there’s a soldier inside.”
“If a captive soldier is left in Gaza, it’s a defeat,” added Hadar’s older sister Ayelet.