Israel’s defense minister speaks of new ground rules – ‘complete IDF freedom of action’

Bennett said the rules of the game have changed and that the IDF is not going to be hamstrung in its actions.

By World Israel News Staff

On Thursday morning, Israel’s new defense minister, Naftali Bennett, said that regardless of the ceasefire that took effect at 5:30 a.m.,”At this stage, it is not over yet.”

Bennett also said, “The new rules of the game are clear: The IDF will act with complete freedom of action, with no restrictions.”

The former education minister, who had lobbied for the defense minister position, had in the past urged for a more aggressive response from the IDF against terror attacks.

He told Kan public radio in March, “I see that the air force attacked [terror] targets,” however  “an attack in which there are no casualties among the enemy is a fake attack.”

“As defense minister, I would return fear to the enemy,” Bennett said.

It appears that now Bennett wants to put his ideas into action. Israel media reports that he spent all night in discussions with senior IDF officials.

“A terrorist who tries to harm Israeli citizens will no longer be able to sleep peacefully, not in his home or in his bed, and nowhere in hiding,” Bennett said on Thursday.

Earlier, Bennett defended Israel’s decision to eliminate Islamic Jihad terrorist Baha Abu Al Ata, which led to the current round of fighting.

“Baha Abu al Ata was a terrorist architect of Islamic Jihad against Israeli citizens. He was eliminated. We did it yesterday, and will not hesitate to act in the future as well,” he said on Wednesday.

“This morning we send a clear message to all our enemies, in all sectors: Anyone who plans to hurt us during the day will never be sure to pass the night. You are and will remain in our sights,” he added.

“In the coming hours, I ask the public to continue to be alert and attentive,” the defense minister made clear.

Opposition members have criticized the government for agreeing to a ceasefire. Blue and White party member Yair Lapid said. “The compromise with Islamic Jihad is not good. It is not good because it will lead to another round [of fighting]. It is not good because if we give [a ceasefire] to Islamic Jihad after 400 rockets, Hamas will not sit out the next round.”

Fellow Blue and White member Yoav Hendel said: “The message from the ceasefire at this stage is equality. We eliminated some terrorists and they shut down half the country. There is no way that rocket fire on southern residents every few days will stop like that. Full backing is needed to restore long term deterrence!”