PM: IDF will respond to violations of Gaza truce

Netanyahu cautions: Quiet will bring quiet; Israel denies it agreed to halt targeted hits on terrorist heads.

By
March 13, 2012 19:53
2 minute read.
Netanyahu speaks at Jerusalem conference

Netanyahu at Jerusalem conference 370. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

As the fragile Egyptian-brokered cease-fire in the South began to take effect Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said “quiet will bring quiet,” but warned Israel would strike anybody trying to attack Israel.

Netanyahu, speaking Tuesday evening at a conference of government ministry directors-general in Jerusalem, said the recent IDF action in Gaza was testimony to the government’s policies: “Aggressive action in order to prevent Israeli citizens from being hurt, and increasing home front defense.”

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The prime minister said Israel would attack anyone disrupting, or even intending to disrupt, the quiet. “We hit precisely those engaged in terrorism, the terrorist commanders, the terrorist infrastructure and many of the missiles aimed at our cities and communities,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu praised the IDF, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), IAF and the soldiers operating the Iron Dome batteries for their “excellent work.” He also praised the local and regional council heads in the South for displaying “leadership and responsibility.”

“And above all, I salute the residents of the South who showed fortitude in the face of terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “Their resilience is a main component of our national security. Israel seeks peace but we are prepared for any challenge.”

Government officials denied claims throughout the day by Islamic Jihad that Israel agreed to not engage in targeted assassinations inside Gaza as part of the cease-fire. The killing last Friday of Zuhair Qaisi, the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, is what set off the current round of violence. Netanyahu personally authorized that action.

Jerusalem, one government official said, “reserves the right to act to protect Israeli lives, we reserve the right to prevent attacks, and we reserve the right to act to target people responsible for attacks on Israelis.”

“Can anyone really imagine we will see someone trying to launch rockets, and not take action to stop him?” the official asked.

Netanyahu, during a meting with some 30 visiting European diplomats who are on the EU’s Policy and Security committee that coordinates EU foreign policy in Brussels, linked Iran, the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and the rockets coming out of Gaza.

“Our ability to negotiate peace with the Palestinians is being restricted by the rockets, which are coming from Iran,” he said.

Netanyahu said that even though the Palestinians are refusing to negotiate with Israel, Jerusalem is being blamed. At the same time, he added, Israel is protecting the Palestinian Authority, and pointed out that Hamas took over Gaza not long after Israel withdrew from there.


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