Right, Left demand strong reply to renewed rocket fire

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum weigh in on the appropriate response to renewed aggression by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Opposition and coalition lawmakers were united in calls to hit Hamas hard after it renewed rocket fire at the end of a 72-hour cease-fire Friday.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said “this is a test of Israel’s deterrence in the coming years and the response must be tough.”
Bennett added that Operation Protective Edge was not over.
“Hamas has yet to be defeated and the residents of Israel need to be strong and alert as we prepare to continue,” he said.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor), who is in Prague, told Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek that he thinks Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should control Gaza.
At the same time, Herzog added, “Israel will continue to respond with strength to any shooting from Gaza that threatens the Israeli public.”
“You can’t complain about Israel when Hamas continues to shoot and won’t accept the cease-fire proposed in Egypt.
There can’t be a double standard here where, on the one hand, there is support for Israel’s right to defend itself and on the other, Israel is attacked the minute it defends itself,” the opposition leader said.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) called on the government to immediately respond to the rocket fire.
“Apparently, the only language Hamas understands is that of the IDF. There is no point in continuing talks in Cairo. Blackmailers and terrorists only understand strength and the time has come that we take that simple truth seriously,” Elkin said.
Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said that if Israel allowed Hamas to shoot rockets without a significant response, it would lose its deterrence and encourage more shooting.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) said “Israel must destroy Hamas. Hamas is not an organization with which we can reach agreements, and that was proven throughout this war.”
Regev said Gaza must be “demilitarized and dismembered” because “this is a war on our home and it is us or them, so they must be defeated without compromise.”
The Likud MK added that Israelis will not have normal lives as long as Hamas controls Gaza.
Similarly, Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said “the reality in which Israel is held hostage as Hamas threatens and shoots is intolerable.”
“A government’s basic responsibility is to provide security to its citizens and it must do everything to bring quiet to the residents of the South,” she said.
In the opposition, Labor MK Erel Margalit tweeted in English: “There is no partial victory in fighting terror and partial victory is unacceptable when the lives of our people are at stake.”
MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) called for the IDF to respond more quickly.
“In order to reach the minimal goal of a cease-fire, we need to respond... in a way that will show the terrorist organizations, the Arab world and the international community that Israel will not hesitate to defend its citizens and take aggressive military action,” he wrote on Facebook.
Knesset Subcommittee on Home Front Preparedness chairman Eli Yishai (Shas) said there is no such thing as a proportional response to rockets being shot at Israeli citizens.
“The IAF and Israeli Navy must be given freedom to shell any place in Gaza where there is shooting toward Israel,” he said. “Only a massive, immediate response at the sources of shooting in Gaza will be able to strengthen the deterrence reached in recent weeks.”
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz tweeted: “What we cannot get through dialogue we will get through strength. What we do not get with strength we will get with even more strength.
Gaza must be demilitarized, one way or another. We do not compromise on security.”
Unlike other lawmakers, MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) called for caution, saying that returning to ground operations in Gaza may not be the solution and that there is no instant remedy to the problems in Gaza.
“We have no interest in getting into a ground-based confrontation in Gaza that could lead us to lose more than we would gain. It’s not a matter of right or left, it’s the right way to reach our national goals,” she said.
“We must provide full and consistent defense to residents of the South and have a strong IDF on the border... that may require a ‘security strip’ within Gaza.”
Lavie was clear, however, that there was no reason to push for a cease-fire with Hamas or give in to the terrorist organization’s extortion.