Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the country Saturday night that the offensive in Gaza will continue until Israel can sleep in peace and quiet, despite reports that the IDF already is withdrawing some ground troops and declaring victory.
In the middle of his stating that “we are at the conclusion of destroying terror tunnels,” early warning sirens of rocket fire from Gaza sounded at Kibbutz Alumim and Nahal Oz, Jewish communities adjacent to Gaza.
The Prime Minister and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon toned down reports earlier on Shabbat that the IDF is withdrawing ground troops, but their declarations of achievements and failure to directly answer pointed questions concerning terror tunnels and rocket fire clearly indicate that the government, if not the military, has decided to not to deepen the war against terror and completely wipe out the threat to Israel’s security.
“Hamas paid a heavy price,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu, explaining that its army lost hundreds of terrorists, used up or lost in aerial bombings a majority of is rocket and missile capacity, lost hundreds if not thousands of rocket launchers, and suffered the destruction of approximately three dozen terror tunnels that took years and millions of dollars to build.
Netanyahu also revealed that the IDF bombed chemical warfare facilities at Gaza City’s Islamic University.
He smothered President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with flattery, one day after the U.S. president signed his approval Friday night to a Congressional decision to transfer to Israel $225 million for Iron Dome interceptors.
“I think the United States has been terrific,” Netanyahu told the country. He praised the “untiring efforts of Secretary Kerry with whom I speak several times a day” and lauded Obama for his ”unequivocal” backing for Israel’s right to defend itself.
Listening to Prime Minister Netanyahu would lead anyone to believe that frequent reports of bitterness between Israel and the United States are pure poppycock and that the leaders of both countries are the best of pals.
“These reports are full of incorrections [sic], full of distortions and are wrong in both tone and substance,” he stated.
Believe that and you can believe that that Hamas never will be heard from again.
The prospect of a return to the failed policy of leaving the Gaza Belt communities under a threat while promising them security was glaringly evident in Netanyahu’s answer to a question from one reporter who specifically asked if the government means there are no more terror tunnels and that there will be no more rocket attacks.
Netanyahu did not give a direct answer.
“I cannot tell you what will develop, “ he said. “ We are prepared. We achieved a major operation. We will invest whatever it takes. We will not accept a continuation of rocket fire. It will take however long it will take.
Asked to respond to leaders of Gaza Belt communities who are urging a wider offensive, the Prime Minister said, “All options are on the table to secure quiet in the long term.”
The words, as usual, sound tough, but he added that one of those options is the diplomatic process. On the other hand, he did not hint of any possible agreement with Hamas. Following the kidnapping, in the middle of a supposed ceasefire on Friday, of Lt. Hadar Goldin , whom the IDF presumes was killed, it is all but written in stone that there will be no more ceasefires, which were a direct cause of the deaths of almost half the IDF fatalities in the war.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also did not state that the IDF will remain in Gaza until Goldin’s body is returned.