Terrorists will determine if the IDF strikes against them, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz told a press conference Tuesday morning.
There will be “quiet in return for quiet and fire against fire,” he told reporters.
The Chief of Staff said Israel’s defense is two pronged, relying on civilians and the military. He explained that the calm behavior of southern Israelis in the face of more than 300 rockets and missiles in four days was a major factor in what appears to be a quick defeat of Hamas’ attempt to inflict mass casualties on civilians.
He also praised the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which not only intercepted an overwhelming majority of incoming missiles aimed at urban population centers but also provided a sense of security among civilians.
The public acted responsibly, and the military acted strongly Lt. Gen Gantz said.
As for the ceasefire that officially took effect at 1 a.m., despite further rocket attacks, the Chief of Staff stated, “It is not over until it is over.”
He warned that the IDF will react swiftly against any threat of a terrorist attack, a policy that puts to rest Islamic Jihad’s proclamation that it would not accept a ceasefire unless Israel promises to halt all actions against terrorists, including those planning imminent attacks.
The Chief of Staff noted that terrorists have continued to arm themselves with more advanced weapons and in larger quantities.
The recent eruption in violence occurred after the IDF struck at the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist group and foiled a large-scale terrorist attack planned on southern Israel.
Lt. Gen. Gantz said that previous experience has shown that it may take several hours or more for the ceasefire to become reflected on the field. “”We know it takes time, so we will wait several hours,” he said.
Almost at the same moment he spoke, a Color Red early-warning siren sounded in the Western Negev. A Kassam rocket earlier in the morning exploded harmlessly in an open area.