Netanyahu in Sderot: 2014 Gaza War Brought Us Two Quietest Years in Past Decade

‘Attacking us will bring destruction to Hamas and The Islamic Jihad,’ says Netanyahu, adding that Israel is also preparing powerful assault capabilities

Benjamin Netanyahu, July 28, 2016.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Operation Protective Edge gave Israel the quietest two years in the last decade, adding that attacking Israel “will lead to destruction and the ruin of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” He was speaking at a ceremony marking the end of a drive to reinforce homes in Sderot.

Netanyahu added that “we can’t shape the strategic environment we live in but we can achieve deterrence and if necessary significantly damage terrorist infrastructure. Our policy is to respond forcefully to every violation, even the smallest one... You can see this – we want to clarify to our adversaries that the rules of the game have changed.”

Netanyahu also said that “quiet here will mean quiet in Gaza, while attacking us will bring ruin on Hamas and the Jihad and anyone else who tries to harm us from across the fence. We’ll respond in force to any attempt to harm our communities and citizens.”

Netanyahu said that “home protection is vital for saving lives, but it’s not an alternative to powerful assault capabilities, which we’re also developing. I constantly hear what Hamas is doing but I also know what we’re doing and planning. I know how we’re preparing, but I don’t intend to tell you.”

Netanyahu stressed that in the international arena, particularly with regard to Security Council member states, Israel has “conducted itself wisely and judiciously. There have been no new Security Council resolutions.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told TV Channel 2 on Wednesday that Netanyahu is not being truthful on the issue of cabinet discussions of the tunnel threat before Operation Protective Edge. “There were no in-depth discussions about cross-border tunnels before July 2014. What the Prime Minister has said is untruthful,” said Lapid in an interview held just before the publication of the State Comptroller report dealing with the cabinet’s actions during the war. “I’ve obviously read the draft and everything there is clear there was much talk of the tunnels in Gaza [i.e. not the ones crossing into Israel].”

Earlier this week Netanyahu, in a briefing to military correspondents, said that claims by Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman indicating that these tunnels were not discussed, were “contrary to the truth.”