Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Israeli people for their “resilience” during eleven days of conflict with Hamas, calling Operation Guardians of the Walls a success and saying that Hamas had been dealt a “blow it cannot imagine.”
Israel’s Army Radio reported that Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held a formal press conference, together with other officials, at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The Times of Israel added:
[Netanyahu] says the “only consideration” he had in the operation was “safeguarding Israel’s security” and “defending the lives of its citizens and soldiers,” and says not everything regarding the outcome and impact of the Israeli strikes is yet known to the public, or even to Hamas. “We did daring and innovative things, without getting dragged into unnecessary misadventure.”
He says he didn’t order a ground operation in Gaza because he believed it wasn’t necessary. “Had I believed it necessary, I would have ordered it,” he adds. There will also be criticism, he notes, but we acted “with determination, with wisdom, and with supreme responsibility… I regard it as my responsibility to protect the mothers, the sons, our soldiers and prevent unnecessary loss of life.”
“Therefore, we caused maximum casualties to Hamas while minimizing Israeli casualties,” he says, expressing sorrow for every civilian life lost.
A ceasefire that went into effect at 2:00 a.m. on Friday has held, though Palestinians continued to attempt to inflame tensions by calling on Muslims to riot at Friday prayers. Israeli police once again had to enter the Temple Mount complex housing the Al-Aqsa Mosque to disperse armed rioters — the same intervention Hamas used as a pretext for launching the war two weeks ago.
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) May 21, 2021
The Associated Press noted that Netanyahu warned Hamas that Israel would react harshly to any resumption of rocket fire.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.