Operation Protective Edge will continue until quiet is returned, and Israel will not negotiate under fire, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday in Tel Aviv.
“I said at the beginning of the campaign that it will take time, and patience is needed,” Netanyahu said to his ministers, some of whom voiced criticism before the meeting – both direct and veiled – of how the government was waging the campaign.
Israel will continue to act “in all ways to change the current reality, to bring peace to all its citizens,” Netanyahu said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Israel entered the negotiations in Cairo last week after the terror tunnels were destroyed and neutralized, and a 72-hour cease-fire was declared.
Since Hamas restarted the rocket fire on Friday morning, he said, the IDF has hit back hard, attacking “many dozens” of targets, including terrorists, command centers, rocket depots, and rocket launchers.
In an apparent reference to increasing frustration being voiced by residents of the South, Ya'alon said he understands their desire for security and quiet, and that Israel would not compromise until the rocket fire and terror from Gaza ends. “Operation Protective Edge will continue until we achieve that,” he said.
Before the meeting, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told reporters that the current situation cannot be allowed to continue, and if the government had listened to his arguments from day one, “we would now be beyond all this.” From the beginning Liberman called for the toppling of Hamas.
“The only thing left to do is defeat Hamas, clean up the territory and get out as quickly as possible,” he said.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar said that “what we need to do is break Hamas's military strength in Gaza. That was true before, it is true now, and will be true the longer we wait.”