Politicians have reacted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to accept a ceasefire following two days of continued rocket attacks that left 4 Israelis dead and 234 injured.
Energy Minister and Security Cabinet member Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio on Monday morning that “to get rid of Hamas, we have to conquer Gaza.”
He made the comments following the decision to accept a ceasefire during the early hours of Monday morning. Four Israelis have been killed and 234 others injured as 690 rockets pummeled the South of the country.
Steinitz said that such action was “a possible step, but it will exact a very heavy price.”
He added that the Israeli attacks on Sunday night were at the highest level, saying that they were just as powerful as those during the 2014 Gaza war. “We brought down buildings after 50 days, and here we did it within a day.”
Opposition leader Benny Gantz has criticized Netanyahu’s decision to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza.
“Almost 700 [rockets] were launched into Israeli territory, many casualties and injuries and four deaths - all of which result from the loss of deterrence - end with further surrender to the extortion of Hamas and the terrorist organizations,” he said on Twitter. “All that the government did, once again, is delay the next campaign.”
“We expect that if the hostilities are renewed, the response will be severe, and if quiet is maintained, it will be used to promote a genuine political process that will lead to the return of the bodies of our dead and missing persons and to ensure long-term stability,” Gantz added.
The Blue and White leader also sent his condolences to the families who lost loved ones during the violence and wished those injured a full recovery.
Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar also criticized Netanyahu’s decision. He tweeted that “the ceasefire, under the circumstances in which it was achieved, is not an achievement for Israel.”
He said that “the time lapses between each of the violent attacks on Israel and its citizens are getting shorter, and the terrorist organizations in Gaza are growing stronger.”
Following his comments, sources in the Likud said that Sa’ar “just wants to bring Netanyahu down.”
Blue and White number two Yair Lapid said that Netanyahu is using the residents of the South as a flak jacket “on the way to total surrender to Hamas.”
“Netanyahu will not solve the problem in Gaza,” he tweeted. “He does not have the operational and political courage to do so. The minimum he has to do is to explain to the citizens of Israel the situation, but even that, he does not have the courage to do.”
Labor leader Avi Gabbay welcomed the ceasefire. However, he said that Netanyahu has strengthened Hamas, and he has also begun to strengthen Islamic Jihad.
“After 20 years, Netanyahu has strengthened Hamas - the release of [assassinated Hamas leader Ahmed] Yassin, the Shalit deal, the Qatari money and more,” he said. “This year, he also began to strengthen the Islamic Jihad, which settled for negotiations in Cairo as an equal partner, without a long-term political solution.”
He added that “the next round [of violence] is only a matter of time.”
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said that the ceasefire was a “serious mistake.”
“We [southern residents] are in a difficult situation... because our values have become confused,” he said. “The soldiers should be at the front and not the civilians. At last we see that it is possible to return to the assassination policy, and I am happy that it happened, [even if only] yesterday.”
However, Likud MK Avi Dichter said that “Hamas and Islamic Jihad understand very well the price they are paying... Hamas has seen very well what has been happening... in the last few days - especially in the last 24 hours when the IDF has stepped up its attacks.”