Sunday, April 10, 2011

Netanyahu: Further attacks on Israel will be met by 'very harsh' response

Sunday's government meeting focused, naturally, on the escalation in southern Israel and the tensions on the Gaza border. The meeting opened with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informing the ministers of a weekend meeting he held with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz and Shin Bet Chief Yovel Diskin, during which Israel's strategy vis-à-vis Hamas' aggression was discussed.
"Regrettably, our enemies and those who seek Jewish lives have not gone from the world. But the State of Israel exists and it knows how to defend itself from evil designs and we say: No more! We say more than that: Am Yisrael Chai!

The IDF has had two major achievements in the past few days, one on the area of defense, the other in offensive operations. In the area of defense, Israel scored a significant and impressive success when the Iron Dome system intercepted missiles. This echoes around the world, including in the European countries that I visited.

The impressive significance of this achievement notwithstanding, it is clear that it is only a partial response. It is clear that an offensive response is also needed. Here as well, the IDF was impressive when it struck hard at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations, in terms of both lives and equipment, in response to the criminal attacks against us.

Over the weekend, I held discussions with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and ISA Director Yuval Diskin, and our policy is clear: If attacks on Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers continue, the response will be very harsh."