Bennett visits Gaza border, vows to respond to rocket attack ‘on our terms’

The prime minister’s visit came amid criticism over Israel’s lack of response to Monday’s rocket attack toward Israel, the first of its kind since May. 

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett toured southern Israel on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Gaza-based terrorists launched a rocket towards the southern city of Sderot, for the first time since May’s Gaza operation.

The prime minister’s visit came amid criticism over Israel’s lack of response to the attack and growing concerns over Bennett’s inability to carry out a military campaign without the required support from his coalition.

Joining the prime minister on Tuesday was Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, among other senior IDF commanders.

“The purpose of this visit was to make sure that the IDF, the Southern Command and the Gaza Davison are prepared – and they are, Bennett said.

“Our mission here is to provide long-term security to residents of southern Israel and the Gaza border communities. We will choose the time, place and conditions of our response, not anyone else,” he added, stressing that Israel holds Hamas responsible for any and every attack carried out from Gaza.

Gantz blamed Hamas for taking the population of Gaza hostage and referenced the delay of Qatari funds being transferred into Gaza over the insisting of Hamas that the money is used to pay its operatives.

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“Our only interest in Gaza is maintaining peace and returning our boys home,” Gantz said, adding that “Israel is determined to defend itself and will know how to when necessary.”

Bennett later met with soldiers from an Iron Dome battery and heard from them about their operational activity. He thanked them for their important actions on behalf of the security of the citizens of Israel, during routine and emergency, and noted that the State of Israel, including the IDF, is ready for any scenario.