Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with the local authorities of the communities near the Gaza border in southern Israel on Tuesday. During his visit to the area, he addressed the tensions that followed the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by US President Donald Trump.
Lieberman said that Israel knew that there would be “a price to pay” for Trump’s declaration. “The important thing now is to support the Jerusalem issue – and we are prepared to pay any price,” he added.
During his speech, the defense minister expressed his appreciation for the residents near the Gaza border. “I heard everyone and I am astounded by the optimism and mood. You can’t avoid smiling after meeting the residents and understanding how strong their steadfastness is.”
According to Lieberman, the Israeli security forces know how to react to the escalation from the Gaza Strip. “Israel is more ready and prepared than ever before,” stressed the defense minister. “We will not suffer any drip (of rocket fire). In the last year and a half, the IDF has acted with strength and determination both in the south and north. Our operations on the tunnels and (against) terror, as well as the hits suffered by Hamas, are a clear and important message to everyone. Hamas has also internalized it. That is why we have seen dozens of Salafists arrested by Hamas.”
Lieberman also addressed the incident that took place on Friday, when a few Palestinian women were filmed as they were using violence to try and provoke IDF soldiers in the Palestinian village of Nabi Salih. “The IDF is the most humane military, with principals that do not exist anywhere else,” said Lieberman, but clarified: “Humaneness should not come at the expense of strength and deterrence.”
The defense minister stressed his firm objection to the return of the bodies of Palestinian terrorists to Hamas, criticizing the Supreme Court ruling that Israel cannot hold the bodies without passing a new law on the issue. “There will be no return of terrorists’ bodies,” he emphasized.
Originally posted at Jerusalem Online.