Ahead of the 72-hour cease-fire that went into effect late Sunday night, several government ministers criticized the policy of restraint Israel has abided by in recent days.
“This situation cannot continue,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. “If only they had listened to what I proposed on day one, we would have been past this stage already. What is left to do is defeat Hamas, clean up the area and leave as quickly as possible.”
Liberman Not Alone in Calling for End to Restraint
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) said, “What we need to do is break Hamas’ military strength in Gaza. [This was] true before, and it is true now, to allow residents of Gaza border area communities to return home safely.”
Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said that “32 days ago, the Israeli government went to war with a defined mission — to restore security to the residents of the south. I say to the residents of the south: As long as you cannot return home and live your daily lives in peace, we will not view the mission as complete.”
Speaking in Jerusalem at an annual event held by Besheva Magazine, Bennett said, “The return of quiet to the south will be tested by actions, not declarations.”
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Sunday that it was likely Israeli forces would have to re-enter Gaza.
Tough Decisions Necessary
“As soon as the door closes and the negotiations do not bear fruit, we’ll probably have no choice and have to go in,” Aharonovitch said. “We’ll likely reach this step. It is unavoidable.”
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said, “Even if we’re talking about capturing Gaza and toppling Hamas, with all the involved costs, there will be no choice but to make a tough decision. We cannot tolerate this situation for a long time, or even a short time.”
This article appeared in Israel Hayom.