Though he provided no details, Netanyahu said there were plans in place to achieve quiet in the south.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Hamas’ recent attacks during the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying the government demands no less than a complete cessation of all fire from the Gaza Strip, reported Kan Israel News.
Echoing his close Likud ally, Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz, who spoke about Hamas and deterrence earlier in the morning on the radio, Netanyahu stated, “I won’t reveal here any military plans, but they’re ready. Our goal is to return quiet to the residents of the south and the Gaza belt, and it will be fully achieved.”
He seemed to dismiss the prospect of a broad operation in Gaza, which has been demanded by some right-wing politicians and certain residents of the south who have faced Hamas’ barrage of rocket attacks.
Addressing that possibility, Netanyahu commented, “We are in the midst of a campaign against terror in Gaza, it will not end in one fell swoop. Our demand is clear: a complete cease-fire. We will not be satisfied with anything less.”
Another ally of the prime minister, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who met with the mayors of communities in the south last Thursday, commented, “The equation should be very simple: If our children live in fear, then the leadership of Hamas should live in fear.”
“We must go back to the policy of targeted assassinations of leaders of this murderous terrorist group,” Regev urged.
Behind the scenes, the Hebrew media reported that Hamas’ primary condition for a long-term ceasefire with Israel is a new seaport or some kind of sea-lane under international supervision.
In June, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and his Cypriot counterpart agreed in principle that the Gazans could have a dedicated pier in Cyprus for cargo ships carrying goods destined for the Gaza Strip, subject to inspections to prevent arms smuggling.
However, Liberman conditioned this offer on the repatriation from Gaza of the three mentally-impaired Israelis whom Hamas is holding, as well as the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. Hamas is refusing as of now to consider this precondition.
The media reported that a source in Gaza claimed that UN envoy Nikolai Mladanov had told Hamas representatives in the last weeks that continued clashes were hampering his efforts to raise money for projects he wanted to promote in the Gaza Strip.
Whether this warning, in addition to the roughly 200 Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas’ terror infrastructure in the last few weeks, will achieve the prime minister’s goal of quiet in Israel’s south remains unknown.