Netanyahu 311 reuters.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel will act “vigorously, responsibly and prudently” to preserve the “quiet
and security” that has existed here over the last two years, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday night, at the end of a day that saw the return
of bombings to Jerusalem and the firing of Grad missiles on
Netanyahu’s comments came as he was boarding a plane for a
24-hour visit to Russia. Before leaving he held security consultations at the
airport with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Home Front Minister Matan Vilna’i,
Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz, and Israel Security Agency head
Yuval Diskin to draw up what is widely expected to be a considerable military
Israeli UN ambassador denounces J'lem
MDA raise alert level following terror attacks'We
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Netanyahu said his government, after coming to power two years
ago, established a security policy whereby “systematic and assertive preventive
measures against terrorism” were coupled with “vigorous responses” to all
attempts to harm Israeli citizens.
The result of this policy, he said,
has been two years of “quiet and security.”
“Recently there are elements
who want to disturb that quiet,” he said. “They are trying to test our resolve
and the fortitude of our people.
They will learn that the government, the
IDF and the Israeli public have an iron will to protect the state and its
Netanyahu delayed his departure by some three hours to hold
the security consultations.
Similar talks were held earlier in the day,
before the 3 p.m. Jerusalem attack, to discuss the rocket attacks on Beersheba
and the overall deterioration of the security situation in the
Following those attacks, Netanyahu said the “IDF is acting and
will act against the terror organizations in Gaza. We will firmly and decisively
defend our citizens. No country would be prepared to absorb the continuous
firing of rockets on its cities and citizens, and of course Israel is not
willing to do so.”
Netanyahu said that stopping the attacks may “come to
exchanging blows” and that “it may continue for some time.”
But, he said,
“we are very determined to take away the terrorist organizations’ ability to
harm our citizens.”
In addition to holding security consultations,
Netanyahu also spoke during the day with a number of his ministers, some of whom
were calling for a stronger reaction than has been seen in the recent past, when
mortar fire on the south was generally met by the IDF’s destruction of the
launchers or a smuggling tunnel into Gaza.
Before the Jerusalem attack,
but after the Grad bombardment of Beersheba, Vice Premier and Regional
Development Minister Silvan Shalom said that if the situation continued, there
would be no choice but to launch another large-scale operation on Gaza that
would bring down the Hamas government which he said has made life in the South
“This is an action that is needed for the protection of
our citizens,” he said.
Shalom said that during the “last round” in Gaza,
Israel restrained itself for too long, something that “led to the abandonment of
We will not go back to a situation like
Shalom called for a swift operation with a clear “price
Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem was met with swift statements of
condemnation from key capitals around the world.
President Shimon Peres
told a gathering of Ben Shemen Youth Village Alumni: “I have confidence in the
strength of the IDF and the security forces to cut the hand of terror that tries
to harm our citizens and to put an end to this criminal activity. I am proud of
the resilience of our citizens who demonstrate determination and
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger demanded that religious
leaders in the Palestinian Authority denounce the attack, until which no
interfaith dialogue would take place.
“Our neighbors have once again
shown that we have no real partner,” he said. “So long as the inciting religious
leaders won’t condemn the terrorists, the Chief Rabbinate will suspend its
interfaith dialogue with them. We expect the religious leadership to firmly
denounce the terror attack in the heart of Jerusalem.”Jonah Mandel
contributed to this report.