FM Katz: Elections Could Be Postponed If IDF Attacks Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Sunday night. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Elections are set to take place in Israel a week from Monday – but that might not happen if the country experiences another night like it did Sunday, said Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz. Speaking to Army Radio Monday, Katz said that Israel was prepared to launch a major military campaign against Gaza terror organizations at any time. “We can organize our campaign within an hour,” he said. “We aren’t taking the elections into account. If the elections have to be compromised as a result, so be it.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while not going as far as Katz, told Radio Yerushalayim on Monday that an Israeli military campaign in Gaza was “apparently inevitable. And if it happens, Hamas will meet a completely different military than it did in the past. The heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad know we can eliminate them. A war with Gaza will come at a high price for them. I will not allow Israeli security to be compromised because of political considerations.”

The IDF struck back in Gaza and southern Syria overnight Sunday, hitting targets mostly associated with Islamic Jihad, after numerous rocket barrages hit southern Israel Sunday night and early Monday. As a result of the attacks, schools in dozens of communities were closed Monday, and there was no rail service by Israel Railways south of Be’er Sheva Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Syrian sources said that in the Israeli attack overnight Sunday, six people were killed. Relating to that attack, Netanyahu said that the target there had been a top Islamic Jihad terrorist, who had apparently managed to escape.

Despite Sunday night’s attacks, Netanyahu said in the interview that “the past decade has been the quietest one, with the least number of civilians and soldiers killed. The past year has seen the fewest number of soldiers killed since 1948, according to IDF figures. This is the result of our very smart security policy in the south. Not one person in the Gaza border area has been killed,” Netanyahu added.