'We Must Defend Ourselves:' Israeli Op Continues


ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER - Despite building diplomatic pressure to declare a ceasefire, Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas rockets from Gaza continues.

In seven days, Hamas has fired nearly 1,000 rockets into Israel. To stop the assault, the Jewish state has hit more than 1,400 targets during Operation Protective Edge, which is now ending its first week.

On "Fox News Sunday," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his country' actions.

"With this kind of enemy we'll take whatever necessary means that we need to take," Netanyahu said. "I'll tell you, we try surgical strikes; we're not indiscriminate. It's very tough. There are always going to be civilian casualties, which we regret. But we have to defend our people and that's what we'll do."

On the diplomatic front, the U.N. Security Council issued a non-binding resolution asking both Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire.

While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Israel's right to defend itself, he asked Netanyahu to avoid further escalation. Meanwhile, Germany's foreign minister is due to visit Israel, the first of many trips aimed at bringing a diplomatic end to the fighting.

Meanwhile on the ground, Israeli troops continued to amass on the Israel-Gaza border while the IDF expanded its military operation into northern Gaza.

In order to minimize civilian casualties, the Israel Defense Forces warned civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate. They said the campaign would be short and temporary and designed to attack the place from which most of the rockets have been fired.

They sent leaflets which said in part: "The civilians are requested to evacuate their residences immediately … those who fail to comply with the instructions will endanger their lives and the lives of their families."

So far, nearly 180 Palestinians have died during the weeklong campaign. But Israeli officials said Hamas was to blame for the deaths for putting their civilians in the heat of the battle.

"We are telling them,'Get out of this house. This house is going to be targeted and used for Hamas infrastructure' and Hamas is ordering exactly the opposite orders: 'Stay in the house, defend the house,'" one IDF official explained.

"So of course we are doing whatever we can to avoid hitting civilians, but in the fog of war with this kind of instructions from Hamas, accidents happen, and this is of course is very unfortunate," he continued.

"The international law is very clear," he said. "If you are involving your civilians in the combat, in the battle, you take responsibility for the consequences."

On the Israeli side, the rockets from Gaza are nothing new. Twenty-six-year-old Kosta has lived half his life under the threat of rocket attack from Gaza.

"It's always in the back of your head," he told CBN News. "I think that I don't remember myself - 13 years of my life. I'm 26 today - I don't remember doing everything where's the closest bomb shelter. I'm thinking about going to the toilet, to the shower, the really, really basic things."

Whether or not quiet comes to Kosta, the goal of Israel's operation is to stop the rockets out of Gaza one way or the other.

While the IDF prepares for a ground offensive, the diplomatic clock keeps ticking. And it remains to be seen if a ceasefire will come before an invasion.

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