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.
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.”
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
“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
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.