None of Hamas’s leaders are safe from harm, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Tuesday following escalating tensions with the Gaza Strip.
“Israel is determined to restore calm in the South and we will not let Hamas determine the rules of conflict,” Lapid told Israel Radio. “Hamas is weak and crumbling.”
Lapid would not comment on the next steps in Operation Protective Edge, but said in a separate interview with Army Radio that “Hamas is weaker than ever” and that Israel is examining scenarios of its decline and the power vacuum that would follow.
President-elect Reuven Rivlin and Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely visited Sderot together, where they met with Mayor Alon Davidi.
“We can’t be led by passions. It’s good that our leadership is leading and not being led,” Rivlin said of Operation Protective Edge.
The President-elect also called on Israelis to visit Sderot. “Show you identify with the residents. That’s why I’m here now,” he said.
Hotovely called on the government to back the military operation by having an “economic disengagement from Gaza,” which would mean to stop supplying water and electricity to the area.
“Nine years after Gush Katif [Jewish settlements in Gaza] was uprooted, it is important to remember that Hamas terrorism is a result of that unjust expulsion,” Hotovely added.
Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ofir Akunis said that “if things are not calm in Israel, they won’t be calm in Gaza. That is our policy and it will continue for as long as necessary.”
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) expressed support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to “take off the gloves” in dealing with Hamas, as she called it. “Hamas thinks that Israel will only react when it shoots at Tel Aviv. Now is the time to break that equation,” Regev wrote on Facebook.
Regev posited that, because Israel showed restraint in recent weeks, it now has the legitimation “to act immediately and with an iron fist to destroy terrorist infrastructure.”
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On spoke to Netanyahu about the escalation, calling for him not to expand Operation Protective Edge.
“Your test is to stand strong and not listen to the warmongers who are calling for a ground operation in Gaza, which could bring us to another war. We know there is a price in blood to living by the sword, even if you are the one holding the bigger sword,” she said.