Bennett: Israel must have Gaza red lines in spite of truce talks

“The security of Israel’s citizens comes before reaching an arrangement with Hamas. We must not surrender to Hamas extortion.” Bennett said.

Naftali Bennett (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Naftali Bennett
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel must have a “zero tolerance policy” for Gaza violence and be free to act without worrying about the impact on Gaza truce talks, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday night.
“I want to make something very clear: the security policy of a right-wing government is first to ensure security and only then agreements,” said Bennett in an address he gave to the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS.)
“The security of Israel’s citizens comes before reaching an arrangement with Hamas. We must not surrender to Hamas extortion,” Bennett said. Israel can’t afford to hold back militarily in Gaza, he added.
“We are being attacked by serious violence, and we are saying, ‘now we are in negotiations, so we won’t shoot in order to complete the negotiations’. Israel’s policy must return to its axiom: The border is absolute, terrorists do not touch the fence, do not cross the fence, do not dismantle the fence. The simple rule should be: zero tolerance for terrorists. Security and a normal life for the residents,” Bennett said.
Earlier in the day, an IDF aircraft hit a Hamas cell in Gaza responsible for launching incendiary devices against southern
Israel, after the flaming balloons were responsible for eight separate blazes along the border.
Early in the morning, Israel allowed Qatari-funded fuel into Gaza, even though Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had banned the fuel last week until Gaza violence was halted. The Gaza power plant needs the fuel to help ease the electricity crisis in the Hamas-ruled enclave, where 2 million Palestinians live, using only four or five hours of electricity a day.
The IDF blamed Hamas for the Gaza violence at a ceremony in the south honoring the outgoing Gaza Division Commanding Officer Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fox and to honor his replacement Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano. The head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi presided over the ceremony.
Fox said that Hamas had attempted to make it appear as if the border riots were spontaneous and part of a popular uprising. It is “Hamas that determines what the level of violence will be,” Fox said, adding that the organization provides transportation and demands participation.
Israeli troops shot and killed Muntaser al-Baz, 17, on Tuesday during a protest on the Gaza border and wounded seven others, a Palestinian medical official said.
Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry said al-Baz died in the hospital after being shot in the head by Israeli troops.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers had come under attack near the border fence and used riot dispersal means and live fire. They had no details of Palestinian casualties on the Gaza side of the border.
She stated that one Gazan, who breached the fence was trying to throw an explosive device at the troops and was shot.