Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) held a situation assessment Friday in the IDF’s Southern Command headquarters, in the presence of the IDF Chief of the General Staff, head of the Israel Security Agency (Shabak), General of the Southern Command, and head of the Gaza Division.
Following the assessment, Minister Gantz met with the leaders of the various authorities in the communities bordering Gaza.
“The situation in Israel’s south is tense,” Gantz said. “I came here today, with the IDF’s Chief of the General Staff, head of the ISA, and General of the Southern Command, in order to conduct a situational assessment, and to prepare the actions that will remove the threat on this region, in accordance with the operational considerations of the State of Israel.”
“I will now meet with the heads of local councils on the Gaza border, and I would like to start by praising all the residents of the Gaza envelope. The State of Israel has a great responsibility to protect them. The citizens of Israel, the residents of the Gaza border communities, and their leadership in particular – have shown over the years a civil resilience that deserves our highest respect. Our mission is to ensure that the tensions end and the situation returns to normal. To the local residents – We are with you and will do everything necessary to protect you, responsibly, decisively, using force as is required of us for the sake of reaching the required results.”
“To our enemies in general and to the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, I say explicitly – You’re running on limited time. [You] will be removed one way or another. The situation in which irresponsible terrorists, some of whom are streaming in from other parts of the world, took the residents of Gaza hostage will come back to haunt them. Those who rob [Gazans working in Israel], make agricultural goods during crossings from Israel, and cause shortages in food and electricity – are harming the residents of Gaza more than anyone else – and will be held responsible [for their crimes].
The IDF, Shin Bet, and security forces are all preparing for any action they are called upon to perform on every front from the south, center and north of the country. We will continue the operational activity in all sectors as we see fit. I would also like to say to the countries of the world, especially to those involved in what is happening in Gaza: The State of Israel practices restraint parallel to its might, and will do everything to return peace to the South. We do not strive toward war – but we also will not hesitate to resort to it if we are left with no choice.
“The State of Israel and the IDF will continue to act with a full understanding of the mission we carry on our shoulders – to protect the residents of the South and all Israeli citizens,” he was quoted as saying.