PM Netanyahu threatens action if truce fails

PM: Israel is giving the cease-fire with Hamas a chance; Barak: Truce is not an agreement but a set of understandings between Israel and Egypt, Hamas and Egypt; IDF official: Hamas will be shocked by level of damage in Gaza.

Binyamin Netanyahu at police press conference 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Binyamin Netanyahu at police press conference 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Even as Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas held on Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that “we are ready to act should the quiet be violated.”
Netanyahu, who met at the national police headquarters with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and senior Israeli police commanders, said he recognized that many in the country expected a harsher Israeli response.
“We are prepared for this as well. Just as we did during this operation, we will decide when and how to act, and against whom,” he said.”
Now we are giving the cease-fire a chance. This is right thing to do for the State of Israel at this time but we are also prepared for the possibility that the cease-fire will not be upheld, and we will know how to act if need be.”
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Netanyahu’s comments came as Israel was preparing, as called for in the agreement, to open the crossings with Gaza and facilitate the transfer of goods.
Israeli government officials stressed that these discussions would be held with the Egyptians, and not directly with Hamas. One official said that since the Mavi Marmara episode in 2010, there has been a gradual restriction of what goods are allowed in and out of Gaza. The further easing of restrictions will now be done within the framework of talks with Egypt, which the official said could be a tool to developing a healthy dialogue with the new Egyptian government.
Among the goods that the official said were likely to be discussed were so called “dual-use” items such as fertilizer and metal tubes, which Israel kept out of the Gaza Strip in the past because they could be used to make rockets.
Asked about the naval blockade of Gaza, the official said that what was important from Israel’s point of view was that weapons not be brought into the area.
“They had 11,000 rockets and missiles last Wednesday when the operation began,” the official continued, saying that the vast majority of that number was either destroyed by Israeli attack or “fired off.”
“The point is how to prevent Hamas from re-arming,” he said. “If they re-arm, they will take risks. If they have weapons, they will use them.”
The official was unable to give any details of how the US and Israel planned to battle arms smuggling into Gaza. Netanyahu discussed this matter with US President Barack Obama Wednesday, and in the cease-fire announcement he delivered to the country said they decided Jerusalem and Washington “would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.”
Netanyahu, meanwhile, appointed his office’s director- general Harel Locker to head a team of ministry directors-general to deal with problems that arose from the fighting in the south, and to help with “problems of financing, assistance and rehabilitation quickly and without bureaucracy.” The first meeting was held Thursday night.