Barak: Strikes just the beginning of IDF operations

PM says Israel will not accept attacks on its citizens.

Netanyahu Barak whispering 370 (photo credit: PMO/Courtesy)
Netanyahu Barak whispering 370
(photo credit: PMO/Courtesy)
MKs and ministers across the political spectrum spoke out in support of Operation Pillar of Defense on Thursday.
On his way into an emergency cabinet meeting, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said it was too early to know when the operation in the Gaza Strip would end.
“It all depends on the other side’s behavior, and when it will understand that it is wrong to continue the escalation,” he said. “We can expect an escalation, and for us, all options are open.”
The IDF was prepared for many scenarios and was “determined to change the rules of the game in the South,” Sa’ar explained.
For a timeline of the escalation in Gaza: click here
“Our goal is to bring quiet and stop the insane situation Hamas brought here,” Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor said. “I hope this will happen.”
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said, “If Gaza rockets continue, Israel will continue to respond, but I hope we won’t need to.”
Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau congratulated the IDF on the operation.
“I hope this shows a change in policy: Instead of reacting, systematically chasing anyone who stands behind terrorism,” he said.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz warned that anyone who harmed Israelis could die. Israelis would not live in bomb shelters while the leaders of Hamas roamed free and decided when to shoot, he said.
“This day makes me proud to be Israeli,” Public Diplomacy Yuli Edelstein said.
“The government brought back its deterrence and proved to its enemies that we do not just speak, but act.”
Click for full JPost coverageClick for full JPost coverage
Edelstein expressed hope that the strikes will bring an end to rocket fire and quiet to the South.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that if the residents of Sderot could not sleep, neither could people in Gaza.
“The IDF’s actions were inevitable. No country can allow more than a million of its residents to live in shelters, and if we can prevent this, we must,” he said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in an interview with CNN that Izzadin Kassam leader Ahmed Jabari was responsible for Gilad Schalit’s captivity as well as for thousands of rockets fired at Israeli schools.
“Since Israel unilaterally left Gaza [in 2005] and left it under Palestinian rule, there was not one minute of quiet for residents of the South,” he said. “It is the responsibility, not just the right, of Israel to defend its residents, and we will continue to do so as long as the security of our residents is harmed.”
Ayalon explained that the operation’s goal was to bring quiet and security to the South.
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich called for Israelis to unite in the war on terror and for politicians to back the IDF.
“Ahmed Jabari was an archterrorist, a Hamas extremist with the blood of many Israelis on his hands, which is why, after the never-ending rocket fire at residents of the South, killing him was justified,” she said.
Yacimovich called for the government to behave responsibly and consult with the US and international community to bring an end to the escalation and prevent a “dangerous eruption.”
Former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni congratulated the IDF on killing Jabari, saying he was responsible for the murder of many Israeli civilians.
“Israel had to take action not as a punishment, but as a preventative action,” she said, speaking at a Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv.
Livni called for Israel to enlist the international community to support the fight against terrorism while continuing dialogue with pragmatic groups to reach an arrangement.
She also said it was important to differentiate between Hamas, a terrorist organization, and the “legitimate Palestinian Authority.”
Kadima MKs removed their signatures on Wednesday night from a petition to hold a Knesset discussion on Thursday to criticize government policies in the South, thus leading to the meeting’s cancellation.
“From now, there is no opposition and no election,” MK Yoel Hasson said. “We all must let the IDF defeat Hamas and bring back the much-needed quiet in the South.”
Newly elected Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett said the targeted killing of Jabari was more effective than “a thousand Iron Domes.”
“Israel made it clear today that the best defense is directly striking the enemy that is shooting at you,” he said.
“The doctrine of defense must end. I call for the prime minister to complete the operation in any way the army says will stop rocket fire on Israel.”
On the far Left, however, some accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of having ulterior motives.
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon accused the two men of being” pyromaniacs,” and of escalating the situation because of the upcoming election.
Hadash said: “The IDF announced tonight that this is just the beginning. We say no to another election war, no to unnecessary killing, and end the cycle of bloodshed.”
“Hadash calls all those who want peace and for the citizens of Israel to stand up against the effort to ignite a cynical election war that will bring death and suffering of Israelis and Palestinians,” the party’s spokesman said.