Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel was readying for further confrontations with Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, after the announcement of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.
“Over the past two days, we have hit Hamas and Islamic Jihad with great force, attacking over 350 targets and terrorist leaders and activists, and destroying terrorist infrastructure,” the prime minister said in a statement.
Netanyahu – who has repeatedly said that Israel is doing everything in its power to avoid another Gaza war – stressed that, “The goal was and remains to ensure the peace and security of the residents of the south. I send condolences to the families and wish a speedy recovery for the wounded.”
The ceasefire went into effect at 4:30 a.m. (01:30 GMT) Monday, according to officials from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. An Egyptian official also confirmed that a ceasefire agreement had been reached.
“The resistance managed to deter the IDF,” said spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, referring to the Gaza-based terrorist groups. “Our message is that this round is over, but the conflict will not end until we regain our rights.”
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called on the government to take a tougher stance against Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group which exercises complete political and military control over Gaza.
“Nearly 700 projectiles were launched at Israeli territory, four were killed and many are wounded,” the opposition leader said in a statement. “All of this is the result of losing our deterrence, and it’s ending with another surrender to blackmail from Hamas and other terrorist groups,” Gantz added.
Over the past months, Israel has worked strenuously with the United Nations and Arab states to restore calm along Israel’s southern border and to ease the suffering of Gaza’s civilian population. Israel has demonstrated flexibility and immense restraint in the face of ongoing attacks and rioting.
During the ongoing bombardment of Israeli towns, Israel transferred 171,712 gallons of gasoline to Palestinians through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. On Nov. 8. Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million in cash to Gaza to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants.
[Photo: Al Jazeera English / YouTube]