Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned of a broad military campaign against the Hamas terror group in Gaza, following days of escalating tensions in the area.
Rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza twice over the weekend, causing no casualties, but raising the alert along the restive southern border. Several infiltrators were also shot by the IDF early Sunday trying to breach the Gaza border fence.
“I would like to commend the IDF for the operation that killed five terrorists in Gaza yesterday,” Netanyahu said. “My mission is to keep security and quiet. We will take all necessary actions and the other side knows this well. ”
He said Israel’s “arm” would reach any enemy who takes action against the Jewish state.
Netanyahu also addressed criticism from his political opponents, saying, “I have heard talk to the effect that I have refrained from embarking on a wide-ranging operation based on electoral considerations. This is incorrect. Whoever knows me knows that my considerations are substantive and genuine, and that I act in full cooperation with the security forces … we will do what is necessary for the security of Israel.”
One of Netanyahu’s rivals, former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, long a critic of the prime minister’s policies regarding Hamas, blasted the veteran leader earlier in the day, saying, “Again, we are facing the feckless conduct of the prime minister.”
Referring to Netanyahu’s departure for a diplomatic visit to the Ukraine this afternoon, Lieberman said, “At this time, he is going to Ukraine to film election propaganda films, while the residents of the south are hostages to the security situation.”
Netanyahu, said Lieberman, is “an excellent presenter, an excellent campaigner” but a “weak” and “incompetent” leader.
The prime minister’s top political opponent, former IDF chief of staff and head of the centrist Blue and White party Benny Gantz, also harshly criticized the prime minister, saying, “Netanyahu has lost security.”
According to Israel’s Channel 13 Gantz said, “Deterrence has not eroded, it has been erased. We will bring security to the residents through a responsible cabinet, in contrast to Netanyahu’s extremist cabinet.”
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Author: Benjamin Kerstein
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