Netanyahu: Israel Holds Hamas Responsible for Any Gaza Rocket Fire

Netanyahu also slams teens who openly refused to enlist in the Israeli military: 'I view this marginal phenomenon with great severity'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the cabinet meeting, December 2017.
Amir Cohen/AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that Israel holds Hamas responsible for any rockets fired toward Israel from the Strip.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also responded to Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay's recent criticism of the prime minister's handling of Gaza. Referring to Gabbay, Netanyahu remarked that people who have never borne any responsibility for security and have never led defense operations are making noise in the media.

“I recommend they calm down. We are carrying out an uncompromising policy that has made Israel quieter and safer than in decades. The attempts to attack us will never disappear and those who try to harm us, we will harm them,” he added.

Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza on Saturday night in response to Friday's rocket fire launched from Gaza. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Iran built and supplied the mortar shells fired by Salafist terror groups.

When asked whether Iran had transferred the shells to Hamas, which still controls the Strip, Lieberman said that Iran "supplied [them] to many in Gaza, it's too early to say which." Lieberman added that Israel has deterred Hamas from seeking a new conflict, but that Israel is losing its deterrence with radical Salafists supported by Iran. "They want to drag us into full-scale war," he said.

Netanyahu also sharply criticized the 63 teens who refused to enlist in the Israeli army, citing their anti-occupation stance.

“Refusal to serve is a marginal phenomenon, but I view it with great severity,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

The high-schoolers criticized the government and the military in the letter. 

“We have decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people,” the letter read. “The ‘temporary’ situation has dragged on for 50 years, and we will not go on lending a hand.

“The army is carrying out the government’s racist policy, which violates basic human rights and executes one law for Israelis and another law for Palestinians on the same territory,” they wrote.