Murmurs of dissatisfaction rose from the political Left and Right Tuesday night, after Israel agreed to a ceasefire with Hamas.
Meanwhile, Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yellin indicated that he does not trust the truce will last, saying residents of his constituency who evacuated should not return to their homes.
“It doesn’t interest me what the government or Hamas say. I will only call on residents to return when I feel like there’s a real ceasefire,” Yellin told Channel 10 News.
Yellin also called on cabinet ministers to stay in the Eshkol region and make their decisions from there, not Jerusalem.
Just as half of the cabinet ministers were opposed to the cease-fire, many in the coalition expressed similar opinions.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said “any agreement that doesn’t include eliminating the rocket threat on residents of Israel and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip is less than half of what is necessary.
“In this reality, the defense establishment will have no choice but to prepare for the next round, which will be soon,” Ariel added.
According to MK Danny Danon (Likud), in the Middle East, restraint is seen as weakness.
“Despite the heavy price Hamas paid, we did not defeat Hamas,” he said. “Fifty days of fighting, 64 soldiers killed, five civilians killed, 82,000 reservists called up, and in the end we’re back to the agreement from Operation Pillar of Defense.”
Danon said a defeat was necessary to broadcast to the whole Middle East, including Hezbollah, Islamic State and Iran, that “they should not mess with the people of Israel.”
“I am concerned we did not succeed enough. Now is the time for national introspection. The policy of restraint and hesitation hurt Israel’s deterrence,” he added.
MK Eli Yishai (Shas) said that a cease-fire without Gaza being demilitarized means Israel may as well pencil in the next round of fighting in its calendar.
“This will be time for Hamas to resupply itself with weaponry to use against Israel,” he said. “Not demilitarizing Gaza will bring Israel to another round of fighting that will be even worse.”
On the Left, lawmakers called for the government to take initiative and launch diplomatic negotiations.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said “this cease-fire comes too late, and its conditions prove, finally, that Operation Protective Edge is [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s strategic failure, as he went to war without goals and finished [it] letting Hamas gain on the backs of residents of the South.”
According to Gal-On, the same agreement could have been reached months ago with moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority, not under fire, and without going to war.
“In recent months, the prime minister made every diplomatic mistake possible, and he should pay the price and go home,” she said.
Gal-On also posited that the suffering residents of the South underwent in recent weeks came without any long-term planning by an “irresponsible” government.
“Netanyahu’s resounding failure in understanding the severity of Gaza border town residents’ situation is equal to his continuing failure in preventing rounds of violence in the Gaza Strip and this war in particular,” she said.
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said a cease-fire is a positive thing, but it must come with “active and courageous initiative toward a diplomatic agreement.”
“We lost our best sons in this war and we cannot accept bloody rounds [of fighting] as necessary,” she said. “A historic axis of moderates was created in the Middle East, with Arab powers that share interests with Israel, and we cannot miss this opportunity.”
Like Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Yacimovich called for an international summit to bring a peace treaty with the Palestinians.