Netanyahu: Syrian border is our new challenge

Israel will have to ‘temporarily’ occupy and control Gaza, says Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz

Netanyahu at Negev Conference (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Netanyahu at Negev Conference
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Hezbollah and global Jihadist operatives have recently poured into the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights, presenting Israel with new challenges, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday shortly after a bomb was detonated wounding three soldiers on that border.
“Over the last few years we have succeeded in maintaining the quiet amid the civil war in Syria,” he said, adding that Israel would act aggressively to ensure Israel’s security.
Netanyahu’s comments at a Likud faction meeting came a few hours after he spoke at the Negev Conference in Sderot about how the last year, in the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, was the quietest year in a decade in the south in terms of rocket attacks from Gaza.
“There will be no trickle of rockets. My policy is clear: Any firing of rockets will be met with an immediate and sharp response,” Netanyahu said.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, however, called for Israel to move back into Gaza temporarily to stop the terrorist organizations’ massive re-armament, joining foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who made similar comments last week.
“Our stated policy is that quiet will be met with quiet,” Steinitz said of Gaza at the Negev Conference.
“But at some point we will need to occupy and control Gaza for a limited time, in order to stop the arming of Hamas and Islamic Jihad with long range heavy missiles that is starting to resemble the arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said.
Steinitz likened the operation he felt was necessary in Gaza to Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, that brought the IDF back to main Palestinian cities for several months at the height of the second intifada.