By: Tovah Lazaroff
By: Tovah Lazaroff
|Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at last cabinet meeting|
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday warned Palestinians in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip that Israel would continue to act militarily against elements who launch missiles and rockets at the country's population centers.
Netanyahu's comments came after six rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel overnight, prompting the Israel Air Force to respond with air strikes on multiple terror targets. The IDF Spokesman's office said that, while the Islamic Jihad was behind the rocket attacks, Israel still holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.
"Yesterday, rockets were fired against our communities and we immediately responded," the premier said. "My policy is to harm anyone who is trying to hurt us."
Netanyahu said Israel would not permit a trickle of rocket fire to go unanswered. "Nothing will be allowed to drip or accumulate," he said.
"We have acted and will continue to act against threats that are near and far," Netanyahu said. "I believe that Jews must be able to defend themselves, by themselves, and to act with determination against any enemy that tries to harm us."
Earlier on Monday, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio that the government should seriously consider the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire on the western Negev.
Liberman, who currently heads the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that if Israel were to allow the status quo to persist, Hamas would amass a fleet of aircraft and missiles that would threaten populous coastal towns like Tel Aviv and Netanya.
"Hamas has no intention of reconciling with a Jewish presence in Israel," the chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party said. "So we need to return to the Gaza Strip and conduct a thorough cleaning."
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh responded to Liberman's comments, saying that the Gaza leadership "is not afraid of Israeli threats."
"These threats will not weaken the resolve of the Palestinian people," Channel 2 quoted Haniyeh as saying at a press conference. "We are fulfilling our responsibility to maintain security," he added.