Netanyahu cites ‘unprecedented’ achievements in war against Hamas

“Hamas before this operation is not like Hamas the day after,” Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman stated.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Hamas terror organization against any further rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip several hours after the security cabinet agreed to a ceasefire, which took effect at 2 a.m. Friday morning.

“If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong,” the Israeli leader said in an address to the nation early Friday afternoon, vowing to respond with “a new level of force against any expression of aggression against communities around Gaza and any other part of Israel.”

“We hit the terror group hard. The public does not know everything yet, nor does Hamas. Our accomplishments will be revealed in time. At this point I can say that we did bold, unprecedented things, without getting drawn into unnecessary adventures,” Netanyahu said. “We managed to cause serious harm to Hamas, with minimal harm to Israel.”

The prime minister thanked the Israeli people for “standing strong” during the 11 days of Operation Guardian of the Walls. “We struck at most of Hamas’ capabilities,” he said.

“Most citizens see that we operated with determination and … prevented needless loss of human lives,” Netanyahu said, adding that had a ground incursion into Gaza been deemed necessary, it would have been carried out.

“We did the maximum damage to Hamas, with minimum risk to soldiers,” he said.

This war with Hamas “was not like the others,” said Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Nadav Argaman. It “could be a reality-changing operation. The rules of the game have changed.”

“Hamas before this operation is not like Hamas the day after,” he added.

However, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, head of the opposition, tweeted that “the military succeeded in the tasks it was given, [but] the government failed.”

“Israeli citizens, especially the citizens of the [Gaza] border area, suffered heavy fire, and in return received no achievement or change of reality,” he said.

New Hope party leader Gideon Saar, who had joined Lapid in a movement to dethrone Netanyahu, said the ceasefire is an “embarrassment.”

“Even with the best intelligence and air force in the world,” Netanyahu achieved a “ceasefire with no conditions,” he said.

Hamas supporters have been celebrating the ceasefire in Gaza and elsewhere, claiming “victory.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White party is also party of the anti-Netanyahu camp, belittled the Hamas claims, calling them “completely false.”

“Every citizen should know that in an emergency, it is possible and necessary to cooperate,” he said.

“We have achieved all the operational goals we have set, “he continued. “We have taken a very heavy toll on Hamas. We set it back years…

“We have harmed many enemy operational capabilities and eliminated more than 200 terrorist operatives, including very senior ones. We have thwarted Hamas’ plans to carry out infiltration attacks, send UAVs and operate from the naval arena.”

Gantz also praised the IDF for its “unprecedented military achievements in terms of forcefulness, precision and strategic importance in the fight against terror groups in the Gaza Strip.”