Politicians to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Right and Left spoke out
against Wednesday night’s cease-fire, with only Labor, Meretz and others on the
Left supporting it.
“The goals of his operation were not reached, and the
next round is only a matter of time,” Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz said. “We
should not have stopped at this stage. Hamas got stronger and we did not gain
Mofaz referred to his experience as an IDF chief of staff
and leading Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, saying it is possible to defeat
“The army knows how to do its work, and we could have won this
time. A cease-fire at this point is a mistake; this is not how a war against
terror ends. Hamas has the upper hand,” he stated.
Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh
accused Netanyahu of cynically using the residents of the South and making the
equation “the higher the number of victims, the higher the number of Knesset
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid criticized Netanyahu for “failing to
achieve the goals” that the government had set for itself in the cease-fire
“While the IDF showed impressive capabilities and the
Israeli home front displayed strength, the government showed weakness and
hesitation in reaching its objectives and promising quiet to the residents of
Israel,” Lapid said.
He added that Netanyahu had said he would not speak
with Hamas, but then changed direction and negotiated with them. Lapid also
called for the immediate compensation of those living in the South who suffered
from rocket attacks.
Newly elected Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali
Bennett vowed to return to the fight against Hamas.
“Despite the heavy
disappointment of tens of thousands of reservists and millions of residents that
sat in shelters, we will beat Hamas and remove the threat of missiles,” Bennett
said. “If it doesn’t happen now, it will happen in the coming
National Union MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Arieh Eldad, who will run
in the next election as the leaders of the newly created Strong Israel party,
called the cease-fire a “white flag and a surrender to terror.”
of letting the IDF smash [Hamas], the government left this operation with its
tail between its legs and having not reaching any of its objectives,” they
stated. “Even the Right thinks Netanyahu must go home.”
Hebron activist and the third candidate on Strong Israel’s Knesset list, said on
Wednesday that he led dozens of people in a demonstration against the cease-fire
in Kiryat Malachi.
National Union leader-elect Uri Ariel called
Netanyahu’s press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman “a sad performance meant to give an excuse for the
“Residents of Israel feel they have been
betrayed, and they know they will painfully pay for the government’s
hesitation,” Ariel said.
As Hamas continued launching rockets into Israel
after the cease-fire began at 9 p.m., MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that if the
terrorist group even throws a rock into Israel, there must be “a
disproportionate reaction that will wipe out Hamas, its command, its soldiers
and its missiles, even if the whole world is against us.”
Danon called to
cut off electricity to Gaza every time a missile is launched toward
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich said the cease-fire must be given
a chance, expressing hope that the objectives presented at the beginning of the
operation – stopping rocket fire at the South, bringing back deterrence and
harming Hamas – were achieved.
Yacimovich also pointed to the important
role the US played as a mediator, and that Egypt proved to be a necessary
partner in regional stability.
“This operation proved how strong our
society is, and the economic security of citizens and entire towns is necessary
for our power in matters of defense,” she added. “Now we must roll up our
sleeves and do what it takes to fix Israeli society.”
Zehava Gal-On commended Netanyahu for his judgment in not getting “dragged by
reckless criticism by coalition and opposition members pushing for the
government to continue military action.”
“For the price of NIS 3 billion,
the government adopted what I suggested on the first day as a solution to the
escalation: international mediation to stop the fighting,” she
Similarly, MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said that the
cease-fire could have been reached before going to “the war for the ballot box,”
calling the military operation “unnecessary and foolhardy.”
Bob contributed to this report.