Netanyahu said he was advancing plans to hit Hamas with a “mortal blow.”
By World Israel News Staff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was advancing plans to strike “a mortal military blow against Hamas,” during a briefing with Israeli reporters who accompanied him on his two-day trip to Ukraine which ends Tuesday.
“I’m advancing a broad campaign,” against Hamas, he said. “And it will be different from we’ve seen in the past. I can’t detail the preparations, but we are developing a broad campaign and it could be that it will happen.”
Netanyahu has come under attack from politicians who say he hasn’t done enough in the wake of rising terror.
Benny Gantz, head of the opposition faction Blue and White, attacked the prime minister on Sunday during a tour of the Gaza envelope – the surrounding communities that have come under repeated rocket fire from Hamas.
“Netanyahu has lost security. Deterrence isn’t eroded, it’s gone,” Gantz said.
Netanyahu rejected such accusations that deterrence has eroded under his watch. “It’s nonsense to say there’s no deterrence,” he said. “What did earlier chiefs of staff and defense ministers say? In internal discussions their position was don’t topple Hamas. Whoever criticizes us knows that we did things that weren’t done before.”
Before boarding the plane to the Ukraine on Sunday, Netanyahu addressed accusations that he was afraid to enter a larger military campaign against Hamas for fear of electoral repercussions.
“Anyone who knows me knows that my considerations are substantive,” he said on Sunday. “If the situation demands, we will go on a military campaign. Whether or not there are elections. We will do what is necessary for the State of Israel, and our enemy will feel the weight of our arm fall.”
Netanyahu and the Likud have responded more aggressively than usual to the criticisms regarding security matters, indicating they may feel vulnerable to this line of attack.
Netanyahu, who has also taken upon himself the defense portfolio, has built a reputation for being tough-minded on security, even earning the moniker “Mr. Defense.”
Likud ministers joined in defending the prime minister. Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz, a member of the Security Cabinet, told Israel’s Kan public broadcaster, “I think the prime minister is acting in an aggressive but also in a wise and deliberate manner.”
Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis said on Channel 20 on Monday night that a broader military campaign is being devised and it will be “much stronger” that what has been seen to date. He said he couldn’t elaborate on details of the plan as Hamas monitors everything said in Israel’s press.