Opposition blasts government’s response to Gaza rocket barrage

Opposition leaders slammed the government’s Gaza strategy after rockets and mortar shells rained down on Israel this week.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Opposition leaders went on Army Radio Wednesday to criticize the government’s handling of the Gaza Strip after around 100 rockets and mortar shells were fired into Israel from the terrorist-run coastal enclave.

Avi Gabbay, chairman of the Labor Party, reserved praise for the IDF’s counter-strike on 35 terrorist targets in Gaza, blaming the current government for not having the correct strategic policy so that such incidents would not be repeated. His solution: restart negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the moderate Arab countries, and “take care of the economic problems in Gaza” because, according to Gabbay, “These are things that will eventually get Hamas replaced.”

The blame lies with Prime Minister Netanyahu for not taking these measures, he charged, which he compared to giving Hamas an “oxygen tank” so that it can survive.

Gabbay also slammed Cabinet members who talk tough, saying that the only way to take care of Hamas once and for all is by retaking the Gaza Strip and eliminating its leaders.

He also claimed that similar posturing in 2014 by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman caused Operation Protective Edge because it put too much pressure on the prime minister. It was “idiotic” to talk this way when the other side is “listening to every word we say.”

Meanwhile, his suggestion for an economic policy was that Israel could help the Gazan populace directly by allowing older Palestinians work permits so that they could enter Israel and support their families.

Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid said the government’s strategy should be to “force” Saudi Arabia and Egypt to be the power brokers in Gaza instead of Iran, so that Israel would have quiet once and for all in this area. How that could be arranged, however, he didn’t say.

Regarding Hamas itself, he said he was more rightwing than the government because he believed that its leaders should be assassinated and that the IDF should use its “large box” of tools “to stop them from raising their heads.”

His faction head, Ofer Shelah, also accused the government of not having a proactive, overarching Gaza policy to  change the facts on the ground, reported Arutz-7 on Wednesday.

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Shelah’s plan is to unilaterally help the citizens of Gaza with economic aid and humanitarian support, to fight terror “by driving a wedge between it and the population in which it lives.”