Netanyahu's Response to Gaza Rockets Not Severe Enough, Says Likud Lawmaker

Gantz also criticizes government's response to Friday's aggression, saying a government lead by him 'will not suffer the threat to residents of the south'

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MK Gideon Sa'ar of Likud on February 27, 2019.
MK Gideon Sa'ar of Likud on February 27, 2019. Credit: \ Moti Milrod

Senior Likud lawmaker Gideon Sa'ar criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday for the Israeli response to the rockets launched  at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday.

"The response to the rocket fire at Sderot and its residents should be far more severe than the one chosen. Israel's target should be the dismantling of Hamas and Islamic Jihad's military infrastructure in Gaza," he wrote on his Twitter account.

He added it was "one of the significant reasons why it is necessary to end the political crisis soon and establish a broad national unity government."

New Right co-Chairman Naftali Bennett wrote on Twitter that the transition government could prevent "urgent security activity" if needed. "Israel is in a national emergency ... Israel must not embark on a third election round that will paralyze us and prevent urgent security and civilian activity. Everyone, both Netanyahu and Gantz, must compromise and form a government as soon as possible," he wrote.

Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz also censured the government's response to the strikes, writing that "a government I chair will not suffer the threat to the residents of the south and will not accept any harm to its sovereignty. We will restore deterrence at all costs, even if we have to personally hurt those who are leading the escalation."

ron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel as seen from the city of Ashkelon, Israel Ashkelon November 1, 2019. Credit: \ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

The Israeli army struck a wide range of Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip overnight Friday, after ten rockets were launched at Southern Israel on Friday evening, marking the second such attack in two days. The Gaza Health Ministry reported one dead in the strikes.

The Israeli military said that eight of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The rockets fired at Israel were not launched by one of the major factions in the Strip, which collaborate through the joint war room, a Hamas official told Haaretz on Saturday.

He also said that this was an act of defiance against Hamas by unknown factors. At the same time, Israel's response is seen in the Strip as deviating from the rules estbalished in the region in recent months - in a way that indicates that Israel intends to escalate the situation, he said.