Netanyahu: If Hamas Won't Stop Gaza Rockets, Israel Will

Prime minister says the country's primary objective remains returning abducted teens home.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that if Hamas will not halt the rocket fire from Gaza, then Israel will put a stop to it.

Speaking at a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Netanyahu said that the country's primary objective remains the return of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, who were abducted 18 days ago. He said he has instructed the defense minister and the Shin Bet to utilize all possible measures in the search.

At the same time, Netanyahu added, Israel is defending itself. "We have witnessed increased fire from the Gaza Strip in recent days. We hit a Hamas cell yesterday that was planning to fire rockets at us," Netanyahu said.

"If the quiet achieved following Operation Pillar of Defense is disrupted, there are two options: either Hamas stops it, as it is responsible for the territory, or we will stop it. We cannot allow the continuation of rocket fire."

Thirteen rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel's south on Monday morning. All exploded in open areas. No injuries were reported. Two additional rockets that were fired toward Eshkol around 2 A.M. also hit open terrain.

"The deterrence that we have enjoyed since Operation Pillar of Defense is fading," said Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin. "Israel's government has two wings – political and military – and it has to use both wisely to restore the calm in Gaza vicinity communities."