The Israeli security cabinet met for over four hours on Sunday after a rocket barrage from Gaza hit the southern city of Sderot over Shabbos and the IDF carried out a retaliatory strike.
“As it seems now, we will be forced to embark on a large-scale military operation and only then reach an understanding,” said Minister Yuval Steinitz on Army Radio after the meeting.
“If there won’t be a choice, we will embark also on a ground operation to eliminate Hamas rule,” he said.
One projectile landed on a house in Sderot, but b’chasdei Shamayim, there were no injuries. The IAF then hit several Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip.
The rocket attack was attributed to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), but it is the policy of the Israeli government to hold Hamas, which rules Gaza, culpable for any violence perpetrated against Israel from its territory.
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi demanded a tough response to put a stop to the attacks once and for all.
“We are unable to just get on with it. We live in a difficult reality, finding ourselves running like crazy to find a shelter all the time,” Davidi told Ynet. “I told the prime minister that there is a terror campaign that has been ongoing for 18 years. Someone is making our lives miserable– Islamic Jihad’s commander Baha Abu al-Ata — and while we live in fear, he walks around free”.
Former chief IDF coordinator for Yehuda and Shomron and Gaza, Major General Eitan Dangot, said the government’s indecisiveness is a consequence of the political crisis.
“Under the Egyptian-brokered understandings between Israel and the Gaza-based terror groups, the current situation appeared beneficial for Hamas,” said Dangot. “The Rafah border crossing has been opened and money has been flowing into the organization’s pockets, while Israel observes the Palestinian factions build their strength.
“The Islamic Jihad is following instructions from Tehran. To combat that reality, Israel needs a functioning government, able to detect threats and adjust policies accordingly. Still, I don’t advocate all-out war at this point,” he added.