Netanyahu vows to press on in Gaza, warns Hamas of heavy price for attacks

Israel will keep up its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza for as long and as forcefully as needed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday in a statement mocked by Hamas. An Israeli official also said that no Israeli delegation would be flying to Cairo to attend talks on a ceasefire, after a Palestinian delegation had already arrived in the Egyptian capital to that end. But Netanyahu nevertheless did not rule out a diplomatic solution to the conflict which has so far cost the lives of more than 1,700 Palestinians in Gaza.

From the beginning, we promised to return the quiet to Israel’s citizens and we will continue to act until that aim is achieved. We will take as much time as necessary, and will exert as much force as needed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

On both sides of the border, attitudes have hardened into a mixture of resignation and fury. Palestinians in Gaza see fighting Israel as their only hope of breaking an economic blockade. Israelis believe that all that can be done is to periodically “mow the lawn” - assaults designed to keep Hamas’s military abilities at a manageable level. Yet Hamas has only grown stronger and more savvy with time - this operation has claimed 63 Israeli soldiers lives, against 10 in the last major conflict that ended in 2009.

Each time it happens … the rockets are bigger, the threats are bigger. If we’d done the right thing five to six years ago, it would have been a lot less costly.

Mark Joffe, a resident of the Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Aza