Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday morning toured the IDF Re’im base near the Gaza Strip border and praised the “optimism and good mood” of the local residents of the Gaza vicinity. Referring to the barrage of between 30 and 40 rockets that had hit the Jewish settlements in the area, Liberman said, “We will not tolerate any drizzle [of rockets] … We know what to do, how to do it and especially when to do it”
He added that “the drizzle did not last, as you’ve noticed, we’ve had a completely calm day.”
Pointing to the connection between President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the sharp increase in rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli settlements, the defense minister commented: “It was clear to us that the announcement by the US president would come with a price – and I repeat, we are willing to pay any price.”
“That statement is important,” he reiterated, “and these things seem to have a price which is worth paying.”
Since Trump’s announcement on December 6, between 30 and 40 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli border settlements. About half of them landed in the Gaza Strip, but on two occasions last week, the rockets landed in populated areas south of Ashkelon and Sderot. There were no casualties but property was damaged.
Liberman mentioned the multiple arrests of Salafi terrorists Hamas has been carrying out in the Gaza Strip in recent days, in order to put a stop to firing the rocket – after Israel had targeted Hamas facilities for its unusually fierce retaliation. Ha’aretz earlier reported that the Salafi detainees had been subject to severe torture at the hand of Hamas security services.
Liberman expressed satisfaction at the fact that Hamas had “internalized the lesson” of the unabashed Israeli Air Force response, saying, “To my understanding, after their interrogation in Hamas’ detention, no one is going back [to firing rockets].”