Salah Shehada was one of the most notorious terrorists in the history of the Middle East.
The operation against Shehada constitutes an important step towards the defeat of fundamentalist terrorism. This terrorism is the greatest obstacle to the renewal of negotiations and the return to a peace process.
Salah Shehada was the most important commander of Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of the Hamas Organization. He was at the top of the wanted list amongst the members of Izz al-Din al-Qassam - the most lethal and extreme of the Palestinian terrorist organizations. This was a strike against a high-ranking terrorist with much blood on his hands.
Shehada and the organization that he commanded are responsible for dozens of atrocities and for the cold-blooded killings of hundreds of innocent civilians, including Israelis, Americans and other nationals. It is the duty of every democratic country to defend its citizens.
Israel regrets it if there was any loss of life among Palestinian civilians in the course of its operation, and, particularly, if children were among the casualties. In contrast to the terrorists, Israel does its utmost, as a matter of policy, to avoid harming innocent civilians. Unfortunately, the war against terrorism is not "sterile", however Israel will continue to take great pains to avoid harming innocent civilians.
The Palestinian campaign of murderous terrorism, in which Shehada played a central role, has left Israel with no choice but to respond with an uncompromising war on terrorism, with the aim of ending the indiscriminate killings of its citizens. The terrorists operate with the premeditated intention of killing innocent women and children, and Israel will continue to act to prevent these murderous terrorist attacks in the future.
Had the Palestinian Authority arrested Shehada, there would have been no need for this act of self-defense.
The action taken against Shehada was designed to prevent the killing of many Israelis. Shehada was in the process of preparing a large-scale terrorist attack inside Israel. He constituted a ticking bomb, and it was a matter of the highest urgency that he be stopped.
It should be emphasized that the recent period in Israel has not been quiet. In the past week alone, there were two major terrorist attacks and every day, a large number of terrorist attacks were foiled. Israel cannot stand idly by while its citizens are being murdered on a regular basis.
The operation against Shehada constitutes an additional step towards defeating terrorism, undertaken in light of the clear need to re-establish calm and return to the negotiating table with the Palestinians. Terrorism and negotiations cannot coexist. Therefore, if the Palestinians are truly interested in negotiations and the implementation of reforms, they must renounce terrorism and stop the terrorism that emanates from their midst.