PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

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“On behalf of the Government, I would like to convey our deepest condolences to the Sviatkovsky and Peretz families over the deaths of two Golani Brigade fighters, Ilan and Eliraz, who fell defending our southern communities from terrorist assaults from Gaza.  Eliraz fell in the Gaza Strip, 12 years after his older brother Uriel fell in Lebanon, defending our communities in the north.

The Peretz family has lost two sons in the continuing conflict that we are waging against Iran’s emissaries of terrorism, and I would like to point out that two more of the family’s sons are currently serving in the Golani Brigade.  We are deeply moved by the Peretz family’s greatness and strength of spirit, especially that of Miriam, mother of Uriel and Eliraz.  The entire nation draws on her strength and the entire nation bows its head along with her over her fallen sons.

Israel’s policy of response is sharp and vigorous.  We will respond sharply to any attack on our citizens and soldiers.  This policy is well-known and will continue.  Hamas and the other terrorist organizations must know that will bear the responsibility for their actions.

Last Thursday, I returned from my visit to Washington.  I met with the leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  I addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference, which was attended by hundreds of Congressmen and approximately 60 Senators.  The next day, I spoke on Capitol Hill with leaders from both houses of Congress, where there was very strong support for Israel’s positions and the desire that Israeli-US relations should remain such that even when there are disagreements, they will be resolved as is proper among allies.

During the visit, I met – at their behest – with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.   In these talks, we discussed a range of issue, including Iran and – first and foremost – our common desire to resume and restart the peace process.  Naturally, we represent the State of Israel’s longstanding interests.  We will try to bring about a situation in which we will be able to advance the peace process and preserve these interests.    Regarding the issues that came up, there were areas in which there was full agreement, as well as those where there was disagreement.  We tried to take – and we took – various steps to reduce the gaps in order to advance the process.  We are continuing these efforts.

I have recently heard anonymous, unworthy remarks in the media regarding the American administration and the American President.  I would like to make it clear: I find these remarks to be unacceptable.  They are from nobody acting on my behalf.  Relations between Israel and the US are those between allies and friends and reflect longstanding tradition.  Even when there are differences of opinion, they are differences of opinion among friends and will remain so.”