Israel’s political and military leaders told the country Monday night that the war in Gaza will continue until all terror tunnels are destroyed and that Israel will not be conned by phony ceasefires.
Shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz spoke at a press conference, the IDF announced that the four victims of a Hamas mortar shell earlier in the day were soldiers and that a fifth soldier was killed in fighting in Gaza.
The death toll of Israeli soldiers in the three-week-old war now is 48.
The IDF put the government’s words in action Monday night and shelled northeastern Gaza shortly after the Hamas mortar attack killed four soldiers near the Gaza border,
Earlier in the day, the IDF foiled a planned attack on a kibbutz after soldiers spotted terrorists infiltrating into Israel via a tunnel.
“We will not end the operation in Gaza without neutralizing the terror tunnels,” the Prime Minister told reporters. “There is no war more just than this one. We will not end the operation in Gaza without neutralizing the terror tunnels.
“Hamas is a cruel enemy, not only to us, but to their own citizens. They have rejected numerous cease-fires. We are prepared for an extended operation.”
Gantz said that the military has carried out an “excellent” campaign and that it would continue as long as necessary.
Ideas of a ceasefire went down the drain during the day as Hamas continued to attack Israel, setting off warning sirens as far north as Haifa, while talking about a halt in the violence.
The strong Israeli stand is a direct rejection of assertions by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and President Barack Obama who have expressed they “understand” Israel’s need to defend themselves but insist that negotiating with Hamas, which the United States has classified as an illegal terrorist organization, is the way to reduce fatalities, which raises the question why President Obama did not negotiate with Osama bin Laden after 9/11.
The international community has not gotten the message that for the first time in years, if not decades, an overwhelming majority of Israelis are 100 percent behind the government and want the army to finish the job.
“We won’t be deterred from fighting for our home and citizens,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the press conference,
Netanyahu has taken to the air waves, speaking on several American television channels the past several days and getting across two points: Hamas announces ceasefires while launching missiles at Israel, and Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields.
A Gaza hospital was hit by a rocket or mortar shells on Monday, and Hamas immediately accused Israel, as most foreign media duly reported until the IDF stated categorically that there were no military activities in the area and that Hamas’s mortar shells hit the medical facility.
Video of the IDF Chief of Staff visiting the troops: