Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the southern Israeli city of Sderot Monday morning, following a weekend of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu met with the heads of the local councils in the Gaza border region, as well as a kindergarten in the city.
A house in Sderot suffered a direct hit from a rocket, wounding four. An additional rocket hit the courtyard of a synagogue. Communities throughout the region abutting the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave have suffered fires caused by incendiary balloons and kites launched from Gaza.
“Just as we are now finishing putting an end to the tunnels, and just as we are working and succeeding to stop the mass riots on the border fence, we have also ordered the IDF to defeat and top stop the kite terror and incendiary balloons. We are at the height of that effort,” Netanyahu said.
“This will not be over all at once, in a single blow, and I do not have words to comfort those who suffered the most serious losses. This is something that is very hard to accept, but we know that we are in a long-term battle for Zionism,” Netanyahu said. “Right here, right now is the dividing line between Islamic terror and the Jewish State, and we are determined to win. This entails exchanging blows, and it will continue.”
Netanyahu had been criticized for not visited communities near Israel’s border with Gaza sooner, as tensions have risen with the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave. Opposition leaders, as well as the mayor of Sderot, had called on Netanyahu to come see for himself the damage that the confrontation with Hamas and other Palestinian factions had caused.
Netanyahu had also been criticized for apparently accepting a ceasefire that excluded the kites and balloons that continue to be launched from Gaza.
“There is nothing that we would consider a cease-fire that excludes the incendiary kites and incendiary balloons,” Netanyahu said.
“I hope it will penetrate,” Netanyahu said of Hamas, “but if it is not understood through my words, it will be understood by the IDF’s actions.”