With less than one week until the elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that rocket fire from Gaza is making an IDF incursion inevitable, perhaps even before the elections on Tuesday.
During an interview with Kan Reshet Bet Radio on Thursday, Netanyahu warned that war seemed imminent.
“I do not wage war unless it is a last resort and I don’t risk the lives of our soldiers and citizens just to get applause,” Netanyahu said in the interview. “We will probably have no choice but to set out on a big campaign, a war against the terror forces in Gaza.”
“It looks like there will be no other choice but to embark on a wide-scale campaign against the terror forces in Gaza. I don’t risk the lives of our soldiers and citizens just to get applause,” Netanyahu said. “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime. Hamas doesn’t exert its sovereignty in the Strip and doesn’t prevent attacks. We have a situation in which a terror group that launches rockets has taken over, and doesn’t rein in rogue factions even when it wants to.”
His comments came two days after the Prime Minister was rushed offstage during a campaign event in Ashdod due to Red Alert warning sirens. Benny Gantz, a former IDF Chief of Staff and head of the Blue and White opposition party, criticized Netanyahu for leaving the stage during the rocket attack.
“We are not afraid — not of Hamas and not of Hezbollah. We are committed and we are here,” Gantz said at an event in the Druze village of Julis in the north. “Today we saw how the big words are replaced with zero action.”
Netanyahu also stated that Israel would begin an assault when it best suited their interests.
“There will be an operation but I will not embark on it a moment before we are ready, Netanyahu said. “We are preparing for a ‘different war’.”
Netanyahu departed for Russia after the interview. After meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu spoke to reporters.
“An operation in Gaza could happen at any moment, including four days before the elections,” Netanyahu said. “The date of the elections is not a factor.”
Netanyahu’s visit to Russia is a sign of increasing military coordination between the two countries in Syria. Russia has a powerful military presence in Syria supporting the regime of President Bashar al Assad and Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian military targets in the country.