Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks Yesterday (Tuesday, 12 November 2019), at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, at the joint statement with IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and ISA Director Nadav Argaman:
“Citizens of Israel, the IDF targeted senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata (https://twitter.com/IDF?lang=en). Over the past year, this arch-terrorist was the main instigator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip. He initiated, planned and carried out many terrorist attacks. He fired hundreds of rockets at communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, whose suffering we have seen. He was in the midst of planning additional attacks in the immediate short term. He was a ticking bomb.
The action to target him had been recommended by the Director of the ISA and the heads of the security agencies. It was discussed by the Security Cabinet in a series of in-depth meetings in recent months. The Security Cabinet unanimously approved the final decision to act in this manner ten days ago and authorized me to order that it be carried out at a time suggested by the IDF and the ISA. The IDF and the ISA indeed identified a date. They identified a unique window of opportunity to carry out the action, under optimal conditions, with maximum chance of success and minimal chance for hitting anyone uninvolved. In light of this, I decided to accept their joint recommendation and I approved the carrying out of the action.
I congratulate the IDF and the ISA. I would also like to specially congratulate the Air Force and IDF Intelligence for the successful and precise operation.
The basic assumption of all terrorists is identical. They think that they can attack civilians and concurrently hide behind civilians. However, we have proven that it is possible to attack murderers with minimal harm to innocents.
Whoever thinks that it is possible to hurt our citizens and evade our long arm – is mistaken. We have proven that we can attack with surgical precision anywhere terrorists hide. Whoever hurts us – we will hurt them.
Citizens of Israel, I request that you strictly follow the instructions of IDF Home Front Command (https://www.oref.org.il/894-en/Pakar.aspx). These instructions save lives. Do not take unnecessary chances. All that needs to be done is simply to follow these instructions. We have considerable experience on this score and it is important to the security of each and every one of you and of your families.
I would like to reiterate: Israel is not interested in escalation, but will do everything necessary to defend ourselves.
And I say in advance: This could take time. Patience and composure are required. The IDF must be allowed to do its work.”