Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett responded on Monday to the IDF announcement of discovering yet another Hamas terror tunnel (Cleared for Release: New Terror Tunnel Into Israel Discovered) with an all out attack on the Israeli security apparatus.
“Our worst fears have come true,” Bennett said in an email statement. “Over the two years that passed since Operation Protective Edge (2014), Hamas has not been deterred from re-intensifying its efforts, as we have warned consistently.”
Bennett described Hamas as having defined “a national project to re-dig the terror tunnels reaching deep into Israeli territory. It’s been a high national goal for them, and it’s about time we internalized the idea. The aim of Hamas is to surprise us with a multi-front event of penetration, killing and kidnapping, a kind of Yom Kippur war of terror.”
Bennett insisted that the obligation of the Netanyahu government remains to provide security to the residents of the south, and to prevent such an all out attack with every means available — and not rely on the conceptual notion that Hamas is “so-called deterred.”
Finally, Bennett urged an immediate retaliatory action to follow the tunnel discovery, since said tunnel is, by definition, a Hamas violation of Israeli sovereignty.
Back in 2014, during and after the war, Bennett received much criticism for his claim that it had been he who, by his sheer perseverance, managed to sway the IDF command and the defense minister towards making the effort to discover and demolish the terror tunnels. But in November, 2014, a Channel 2 investigative report confirmed every one of the embattled rightwing leader’s assertions.
The Uvda program determined that it had indeed been Bennett who repeatedly raised the subject of the tunnels at cabinet sessions throughout the summer of 2014, while Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon objected to launching an operation against the tunnels.
“If there is anything that a person who is familiar with the protocols of the cabinet sessions can see,” journalist Ilana Dayan reported, “it is that Minister Naftali Bennett demands, again and again, to launch an operation against the tunnels, and he hears an answer that more or less repeats itself, from Defense Minister Ya’alon: the tunnel threat is one we can live with, it need not be defined as a target, at least not in this round of fighting.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau eventually let the nation know that Hamas was planning a massacre on Rosh Hashana 2014, and that those plans had been averted by the IDF ground operation that destroyed the terror tunnels. But in the summer, Netanyahu had been backing his defense minister against the annoying Bennett’s proclamations.
Nothing has changed in that respect, and the IDF and defense minister, with the PM’s backing, will likely evade the need to punish Hamas now for their newest terror tunnel.David Israel