Netanyahu Tells South: Gaza Offensive If Necessary

YERUSHALAYIM -
An apartment building in Ashkelon that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in May, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that “we want to restore calm” in the Gaza area, “but at the same time, we are also prepared for a wide-ranging military campaign, if it proves necessary.”

The statement was made following a meeting with the Security Cabinet at IDF Gaza Division headquarters with army’s southern commander and the Gaza Division commander.

Netanyahu also met with council heads from Ashkelon and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, with whom he discussed the security situation.

However, the heads of two regional councils near the Gaza border boycotted the meeting, accusing the prime minster of indifference to the plight of their communities which have been under fire from Gaza terrorists for many months.

The head of the Eshkol region, Gadi Yarkoni, and the head of the Shar Hanegev region, Ofir Libstein, explained in a joint statement that they objected to the inclusion of all southern municipalities in the Wednesday’s conference.

“We respect our colleagues, the heads of regions in the south, they too are dealing with complex emergency situations, but we are sure that without a doubt the challenges, the needs and the reality facing the Gaza periphery is fundamentally different from the other regions,” they said.

They on the government to hold another meeting exclusively with the local governments in the Gaza periphery.

In response, Netanyahu said: “I regret that some of the council heads who always say that we do not listen to them – left precisely when we came to listen to them, but we will do what is necessary for everyone.” He did not mention their demand for another meeting.