Netanyahu dismissed criticism of Gaza policy by 'experts' who did same thing

Netanyahu said the government was working to relieve the distress of the communities around the Gaza border, and last week imposed “heavy sanctions on Hamas, including stopping fuel supplies."

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July 1, 2019 02:05
2 minute read.
Security Cabinet meeting on June 30, 2019

Security Cabinet meeting on June 30, 2019. (photo credit: YANIR COZIN / MAARIV)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is “unimpressed” by the “various experts” who are criticizing his Gaza policies, saying at Sunday’s cabinet meeting that he understands full well the distress facing the communities targeted by incendiary balloons.

Many of the critics, he said, were giving advice that they did not implement themselves when they were in a position to do so, an apparent reference to Blue and White Party’s Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon.

These critics, he said, would be the first to “criticize us if we embarked on a wide military campaign, something which we may be forced to do. Only one thing guides me – the security of the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu said the government was working to relieve the distress of the communities around the Gaza border, and last week imposed “heavy sanctions on Hamas, including stopping fuel supplies.”

“If we need to, we will use much more difficult means,” he said. “We are taking these steps after consulting with all the security forces.”

The security cabinet met Sunday afternoon for a meeting that was expected to deal with, among other issues, the situation in Gaza. No statement was issued after the meeting. It was the first security cabinet meeting that newly appointed Education Minister Rafi Peretz and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich attended.

Netanyahu also addressed last week’s US-sponsored “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain, and discussed Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa’s “significant” statement to Israeli journalists last week in Manama that “Israel is a state in the Middle East and part of its heritage.”

“This is a very important statement. It is a direct result of our policy that makes Israel a powerful force in the region and a rising world power,” he said.

Netanyahu said that while Israel is gradually normalizing ties with the Arab states, and while Israel welcomed the Bahrain conference that was aimed at improving life for the Palestinians, the Palestinians “attacked the conference with great fury and against their own interests.”

Referring to the arrest – and later release under US pressure – of a Palestinian businessman who took part in the parley, Netanyahu said “One thing is clear – the Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including at the cost of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves. That is not the way people act who want to promote peace.”

On the other hand, he said, “We continue to promote ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”


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