Netanyahu cuts Paris trip short

Prime minister expected to return to Israel from Paris a day early following the incident in the Gaza Strip.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Netanyahu departing fro Paris
Netanyahu departing fro Paris
Avi Ohayon/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has cut short his visit to France in light of the escalation in the south.

"In light of the security situation in the south, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to shorten his visit to Paris and return to Israel tonight," his office said in a statement on Sunday night.

Netanyahu, who was in Paris for an event hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, was supposed to return to Israel on Monday night and had planned to hold more diplomatic meetings in the French capital.

After holding consultations with Defense Ministry officials and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during the evening, the prime minister decided that his presence in Israel was required and instructed his team to prepare for an early return.

As a result, it is possible that the cabinet ministers will convene on Monday morning for an extraordinary meeting following the happenings in Gaza. From Paris, the prime minister sent an order to all the cabinet ministers not to provide interviews on the situation in the south.

Earlier on Sunday, at a press conference he convened in Paris, the prime minister addressed among other things Israel's handling of the situation in Gaza.

"I am working to restore quiet to the residents of the Gaza envelope and also to guard against a humanitarian collapse in Gaza, which is what the cabinet decided," said Netanyahu.

Regarding the transfer of Qatari money to Hamas on Friday, the prime minister said, "There is supposed to be some supervision over the money, and I hope that this mechanism will improve. What we are doing is allowing the renewal of conditions that existed before, and I am doing everything possible to avoid unnecessary war."

"What undermines stability is not the change in the balance of deterrence, but a change in the reality inside the Gaza Strip. I am acting by fortifying and operating the military force in the right way. I am not afraid of wars but I am not happy about them either," continued Netanyahu.

He added, "I think there is a period of calm, and if it does not continue, we will use maximum force. We were close to using maximum force recently, but Hamas understood this and smartened up.”