Peres: Gaza will only achieve normalcy if rockets stop

Barak says IDF "to bring back deterrence" to border; PM meets with security cabinet to discuss possible response to rockets.

President Shimon Peres 370 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres 370
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres addressed the recent rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel on Tuesday, saying "Hamas needs to decide if it wants a quiet and developing Gaza or an unruly Gaza with no hope."
Speaking to students at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Peres said "there is no confusion - if you want a normal life - stop firing."
As calm seemed to return to the southern Gaza border, with only one rocket landing outside Ashdod on Tuesday morning, Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the Gaza border and held a security evaluation with army chiefs, where he said the ongoing conflict with Gazan terror organizations "is still not over."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with the security cabinet on Tuesday morning to discuss possible responses to threats from Gaza, after the IAF hit three targets in the Strip overnight Monday. One of the responses being considered is targeted assassination of Hamas commanders in Gaza, Army Radio reported.
In his tour of the border, Barak praised the army officials for "a professional and systematic operation that is being carried out," adding that "Hamas and the terror organizations are absorbing heavy blows in Gaza as a result."
"This clearly isn't over and we will decide how and when to act the minute there will be a need to do so," the defense minister said, repeating similar statements he made over the past three days.
"I don't want to address when or ways [to operate], because it would not be right to give that information to the other side," he said.
Barak reiterated that Israel "would not accept the harm to daily life of our civilians," adding that "we intend to bring back deterrence" and to ensure that the IDF will be able to operate freely along the Gaza border fence, where it has come under frequent attack in recent weeks.
Asked to respond to the frustration of southern residents over the lack of a clear IDF response to the recent Palestinian rocket barrages, Barak said, "I'd like to praise the heads of councils and mayors... and civilians... on their resilience." He added that there was no speedy solution.
"On these issues it's preferable to act rather than to speak," Barak added.
Yishai to UN: Stop Gaza terror before Israel must act
Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Tuesday called on the UN and the international community to take immediate action to stop rocket fire from the Gaza, before Israel was forced to respond to the attacks to protect its citizens.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Yishai said, "Before Israel determines the timing and strength of its response, I request your immediate intervention to deter and stop the terrorist activity of the decision-makers in Gaza."
Hamas leaders in Gaza called a meeting of the various factions on Monday evening to examine how to avoid further Palestinian casualties, Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported, citing a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) leader. Six Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since the weekend, four of whom were civilians.
A Hamas statement from the meeting said that its activities and the possibility of a cease-fire “depend on the continuation of the Israeli aggression.”
Soon after the meeting, however, Gazans fired three additional rockets at Sderot.The rockets exploded in open areas, causing no damages or injuries.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.