PM unsure of durability of Hamas-Israel truce

Netanyahu tells IAF they could "continue preparing for next campaign" as he salutes reservists who may be "needed later."

Barak, Netanyahu, Gantz 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Barak, Netanyahu, Gantz 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indicated little confidence Sunday in the durability of the cease-fire with Hamas, telling pilots who took part in Operation Pillar of Defense they could now prepare for the next campaign, and reservists that they would likely be needed again later.
Netanyahu, who visited the Palmahim Air Force Base, told the pilots that they had carried out the missions set out for them in a precise manner.
“If the quiet is kept, you will be able to continue preparing for the next campaign,” he said. But if the quiet was violated, he warned, “you will go back and hit what remains of the Hamas stockpile of weapons.”
One government official said that the feeling in the Prime Minister’s Office was that a long-standing cease-fire in the South would be built on three pillars: deterrence and Israel’s willingness to hit back at any violation; the fact that Hamas’s commitment to stop firing was made to its “big brother” Egypt and not to Israel; and halting rearmament.
US President Barack Obama committed the US to working with Israel in stopping the rearmament, and talks are expected in the near future to discuss the operational mechanisms.
Netanyahu said the IDF destroyed most of the missiles in Gaza directed toward the Center of the country, and thousands of missiles that were directed toward the South.
“The minute the operation accomplished its goal, there was no reason to continue it,” said Netanyahu, who has come under fire from parts of the public for not continuing with a ground offensive into Gaza to topple Hamas.
“We decided when it would start and controlled when it would end. If the quiet continues, it will be met with quiet. If it is violated, we will respond strongly,” he said.
Netanyahu said he “saluted” the country’s reservists “for their determination to be mobilized for the security of the state. It is very likely we will need you later,” he said.
Netanyahu was joined on his visit to the air base by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and IAF commander Maj.- Gen. Amir Eshel.