Photo Credit: Corinna Kern / Flash 90
A general view of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza as seen from the Israeli kibbutz of Netiv Ha'Asara, April 05, 2016.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin warned Thursday evening at a ceremony to mark the third anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, “Gaza will not be rehabilitated as long as it is run by Hamas, a terrorist organization that works to destroy Israel, which does not respect human life, does not respect human rights, and is a murderous and cruel organization.”

The president’s remarks were particularly relevant, given that earlier in the day, envoys from the Middle East Quartet (United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) had met in Jerusalem to discuss the “deteriorating situation in Gaza,” expressing their “serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation” and current efforts to “resolve the crisis” in the enclave.

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Rivlin laid a wreath during the ceremony, held at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem to commemorate the fallen soldiers who lost their lives during the counter terrorism war.

“In Operation Protective Edge, we fought for our home, for the kindergartens and the schools, the roads, the paths, the orange groves and the fields, the front line and the home front,” he said.

“It was a fight for normalcy, for our daily lives. A moral and just campaign, waged by a sovereign state that seeks to protect its citizens.”

“The three years since have been the quietest three years on the southern front in the last decade. We do not forget the contribution of the IDF and the security forces, nor the contribution of the citizens who have shown great strength over the years, and have stood firm and determined on the home front.

“We are not complacent. We know that Operation Protective Edge will probably not be the last confrontation. We are fighting a terrorist organization, a brutal, extreme, and murderous terrorist organization, and we are prepared and ready to respond to every scenario and every threat.

“The rehabilitation of Gaza is an Israeli interest, and I have no doubt that the public in Gaza yearns for it, but the rehabilitation of Gaza requires the return of our sons and the cessation of all hostilities against Israel.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.