IDF Officials Favor Ceasefire with Hamas to Gaza Offensive
The IDF is interested in reaching a ceasefire with Hamas, a military source told Arutz Sheva on Sunday.
"If Hamas would stop the rocket fire, then quiet will be maintained on our part," the official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated.
The official stressed that the IDF - unlike several ministers and MKs - is not rushing to launch an immediate assault on Gaza, and would rather respond tit-for-tat with retaliatory airstrikes.
"Even after rounds that included dozens of rockets and missiles the IDF maintains almost maximum restraint, and except for a few isolated attacks IDF prefer to maintain the truce," the official said.
"This is despite the long hours the IDF Chief of Staff [Benny Gantz] put in yesterday in meetings and briefings in the South and the readiness of the Home Front Command to preserve the security situation in the south."
Hundreds of rockets have been fired on Israel over the past several weeks, with a particularly severe escalation last week.
The IDF issued an ultimatum on Thursday, calling to stop the rocket fire within 48 hours or face war.
Economy Minister and Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett was particularly ardent in his rejection of a police of restraint, insisting it would simply encourage further attacks against Israel.
"The strategy of 'we will answer quiet with quiet' harms Israel's deterrence and allows Hamas to grow stronger from round to round," Bennett charged. "Restraint in the face of firing on women and children is not powerful. Restraint in the face of the murder of three children is weak."
"Israel's residents in the south are not second-class citizens, and we must respond to rocket fire on Be'er Sheva as we would to rocket fire on Tel Aviv," he continued, adding that Israel "should not wait" for that escalation before responding.
Meanwhile, there is no known progress on neither a rumored ceasefire between Hamas and Israel brokered by Egypt Friday, nor with the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s calls for Hamas to stop the escalation.