Netanyahu vows commitment to Gaza evacuees


JERUSALEM (JTA) — On the fourth anniversary of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu said he would help the evacuees rebuild their lives.

The Israeli prime minister also said Sunday that he would respond to terror from the area.

At the beginning of the Cabinet meeting, noting the anniversary of the disengagement on the Hebrew calendar, Netanyahu said, "Israel uprooted approximately 10,000 Israelis — men, women and children — from their homes. To our regret, Gaza has become a base for Hamas-led, Iranian-sponsored terrorism; thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired at us."

Netanyahu addressed the fact that the majority of the evacuees still live in temporary housing, saying, "We are committed to the full rehabilitation of our uprooted brothers and sisters in order to enable them to rebuild their destroyed lives. The Cabinet will discuss the issue at length next week."

He also said that Israel is "not prepared to countenance rocket and missile fire of any kind on our cities, neither barrages nor individual firings. All firing will be vigorously responded to."

Netanyahu added that "Peace will go back to being based on reciprocity, not unilateralism." He said Israel expects that in the framework of peace agreement and not as a pre-condition, "the Palestinians will recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, that the problem of the refugees will be resolved outside Israel’s borders, that there will be effective security arrangements and demilitarization, with international recognition and guarantees."

He said that Israel is ready to open negotiations with any of its neighbors without preconditions, saying that  "Whoever sets pre-conditions for opening negotiations delays the peace process."

Recommended from JTA