Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a foreign media press conference yesterday to sum up Operation Protective Edge.
Opening in Hebrew, Mr Netanyahu defended the achievements of the operation, particularly against domestic criticism of the IDF being unprepared or having made operational mistakes.
Switching to English, Mr Netanyahu opened by showing the assembled journalists footage from inside Gaza, both that of other journalists and from the IDF, of rockets being fired from dense civilian areas.
Speaking about the death toll, he said: “Israel deeply regrets every civilian casualty, every single one. We do not target them; we do not seek them. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas; our enemy are the other terrorist organizations trying to kill our people. And we’ve taken extraordinary circumstances and measures to avoid civilian casualties.”
In response to a question from CNN about proportionality, Mr Netanyahu answered, “yes, I think it was justified, I think it was proportional and that doesn’t in any way take away from the deep regret for, we have for the loss of a single civilian.”
Mr Netayhahu said he was open to a role for the Palestinian Authority in reconstruction of Gaza, aid delivery, and praised John Kerry’s words about the demilitarisation of Gaza.