PM, Barak warn Hamas over rocket fire: Don't test us

Netanyahu reiterates policy of retaliation when Israelis are harmed; President Peres calls rocket fire a "borderline declaration of war."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated the Israeli government's policy of strict retaliation against those that harm Israelis, warning both Islamic Jihad and Hamas not to test Israel. His comments came the day after an Israeli man was killed by shrapnel when a Grad rocket hit Ashdod, and nine Palestinians were reported dead in IAF strikes on terror targets in the Strip.
Speaking in Safed at the opening of the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, Netanyahu went on to stress the importance of remembering that "Hamas is the ruling power in Gaza, and it is [the organization's] responsibility to preserving the quiet and to prevent [rocket] fire" from the Strip," even if those launching the rockets are from Islamic Jihad.
Islamic Jihad is 'committed' to Gaza Strip cease fire Lieberman on rocket fire: We don't want escalation "It's not worthwhile for anybody to test our resolve" to invoke the government's defense principles. "We will prevent every attempt to shoot at Israel and we will hurt everyone who nevertheless succeeds" at launching rockets.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also warned Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders "not to test our abilities," following a meeting with security and intelligence chiefs on Sunday.
During the meeting, Barak examined plans for continued IDF operations in Gaza to stop the rocket attacks on Israel. The defense minister added, "We will do everything to protect the citizens of Israel."
Also speaking at the medical school in Safed, President Shimon Peres said "the government and the IDF will do everything necessary in order to secure residents of the South and to put an end to this intolerable situation."
Any country would respond as Israel does to indiscriminate rocket fire on its citizens, he added.
In a message to "our Arab neighbors," the president said, "neither we nor you want war, but [the] rockets from Gaza are [a borderline] declaration of war. Reckless groups cannot be allowed to endanger our peace."
"While the majority of Arabs are trying to end oppression and poverty," Peres said, "Hamas is bringing oppression and poverty to the Gaza Strip."