"If we are being fired, at we should strike back without hesitation," President Shimon Peres said Tuesday during a conference of national service volunteers in Tel Aviv.
The president said that the situation in Gaza required Israel to show solidarity with the Negev residents, to retaliate to the rocket fire from Gaza, and to mobilize international support for the country.
"All the towns in Israel should show solidarity with Sderot. When a little boy's leg is amputated, it is as if the leg of an entire generation has been amputated. We should all share in the pain of the family and of Sderot's residents," he stated.
According to the president, "The Israeli nation defends itself and does not seek war. We do not wish to harm innocent civilians, but we will not let our enemies hurt our civilians." He added that while Israel was willing to negotiate with the other side for peace, "Those who fire at Israel should not be surprised when Israel fires back."
Peres also voiced his faith in the IDF, saying he was confident the army will come out of the Gaza conflict triumphant.
Referring to the need for an international campaign to promote Israel's stance worldwide, the president said, "We must mobilize international public opinion – both through the diplomatic channels and through extensive international political PR, and emphasize that the attacks against Sderot's residents constitute heinous crimes that violate international law."
Peres also vowed to pressure the government on the issue of Sderot's fortification and the other needs of the region's residents.
Moran Zelikovich contributed to the report