Netanyahu assures Sderot residents: Security is number one concern

Following an early morning airstrike on a Hamas military base in Gaza, Netanyahu says the IDF will always preemptively strike its enemies if necessary for Israel’s security.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke reassuringly Monday to residents of Sderot, a town of about 25,000 people situated near the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Having suffered many terror attacks over the years, Sderot is one of the communities currently threatened by the violent Hamas protests, including attempted infiltrations into Israel through the border fence.

During a signing ceremony for an umbrella agreement between government ministries, the Israel Land Authority and the municipal authorities that will allow construction work to begin on new infrastructure in the city, Netanyahu put the ongoing clashes just a few kilometers away into perspective.

“The first thing that is happening here may be summarized in one word,” he stated. “Security: Security for Sderot, security for the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, security for the Negev, security for Israel, security in the future.”

The prime minister’s words were also seen as referring to the Israel Air Force attack on a Hamas base in the northern part of the Strip, which took place early Monday following an attempted terror attack the night before. Three Palestinians had broken through the border fence and planted two plastic drinking bottles full of explosive liquid attached to a detonator in Israeli territory before making their way back into Gaza.

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He could equally have been hinting at a much more complicated missile attack carried out in the pre-dawn hours against an air base in central Syria – although Israel has not acknowledged being the instigator of the strike. Russia, Iran and Syria, however, all blamed Israel for the attack, with Iran’s Foreign Ministry harshly criticizing it as “a clear violation of international law.”

Fourteen people were reportedly killed at the base, which was the same one that Israel bombed two months ago after an Iranian-controlled drone entered Israel’s airspace and was shot down after about a minute. The dead this time included three officers of the Syrian army and four members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Netanyahu showed that he wasn’t moved by the accusations, and sought to send a message of his own, one that applied to all enemies equally. “We have one clear and simple rule,” he declared, “and we seek to express it constantly: If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him.”

“We will not allow them here on the Gaza border to hurt us. We will hurt them,” he added. “Security in the present is a necessary condition for security in the future — and what we have here today is a powerful expression for our future security.”