'We want to restore calm, but are prepared for large operation'

PM holds Cabinet meeting in IDF Gaza Division headquarters.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

PM Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Kochavi
PM Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Kochavi
Flash 90

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a meeting of the cabinet ministers at the IDF Gaza Division headquarters Wednesday, after which he met with local and regional council heads of the Gaza periphery.

"We held a cabinet meeting in the Gaza Division with the commander of the Southern Command and with the division commander," Netanyahu said. "Our policy is clear - we want to restore the calm, but at the same time we are preparing for a wide-scale military operation, if one is required."

"At the same time, I met with the heads of the local councils of the Gaza and Ashkelon communities, and I discussed the necessary steps with them and gave instructions on how to help them."

Netanyahu referred to the decision of two mayors to boycott the meeting. "I'm sorry that some of the mayors who always say they are not being listened to - they left when we came to listen to them, but we will do what is needed for everyone."

The prime minister also addressed the demonstrations by members of the Ethiopian community. "This community is precious to us. I say this as someone who is still holding a meeting today as I head the ministerial team to deal with the problems of this community. We will discuss all the issues, but we will also discuss what is intolerable. We are not prepared to accept or tolerate the blocking of roads and the use of violence, including Molotov Cocktails against our forces, and the burning of cars or any other civilian property. We are a state of law. We demand that everyone respect the law.

"We have been discussing over-policing, changing the patterns of behavior with the Ethiopian community, something that has already improved, and we may need to bring many more improvements, But one thing is certain - it cannot be handled by blocking roads. Other methods, yes, that's why we are also convening the committee," the prime minister said.

Following the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu and Finance Minister Kahlon met with heads of local authorities from the Gaza vicinity: Ashkelon Mayor, Head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Head of Merhavim Regional Council and Chairman of the Regional Councils and Head of the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, the Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, the Commander of the Southern Command and the Commander of the Gaza Division.