Gantz visits Gaza border, warns conflict with Hamas ‘won’t disappear’

“We know who our neighbors are … and we are ready for anything,” said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz as he toured the Gaza border area on Tuesday.

By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner

Benny Gantz made his first visit as defense minister to the embattled communities on the border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and warned that the conflict with the Islamist terrorist group would continue.

Gantz, who was IDF chief of staff during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, met with a group of local municipal officials in the city of Sderot, a frequent target of rocket attacks from Gaza.

“This tension will not disappear, it will stay with us for several years,” Gantz said.

“We know who our neighbors are,” he added. “We are turned toward peace. There will be ups and downs and we are ready for anything.”

One of the officials said after the meeting, “There was a first get-to-know meeting with him as defense minister. The meeting was good.”

The official praised Gantz for coming at a time when there was no “tension or escalation. He came to listen to us, and this is important.”

Another official who attended the meeting reportedly asked Gantz about the possibility of creating joint industrial zones where Israelis and Palestinians could work together to promote coexistence.

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Gantz responded positively toward the idea.