'Netanyahu Must Set a Policy on Gaza'

Eshkol Regional Council leader Haim Yellin urges political leadership to ignore elections and crack down on terrorism after Gaza skirmish.

Benny Toker ,

Chaim Yellin
Chaim Yellin
Eshkol Regional Council

Haim Yellin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, is concerned that Israel is deteriorating towards a renewed round of escalation with Gaza, he stated to Arutz Sheva Thursday.

"Take what I said three months ago and you heard what I said then: that in the absence of a military victory or a ceasefire or demilitarization, we will find ourselves again facing an escalation with Gaza," Yellin lamented. "And now [Wednesday's skirmish] with the Qassam rocket fired Friday from Gaza, it's starting again slowly, until we finally lose control." 

Yellin - who is running for election with Yesh Atid - was adamant that the response must be unequivocal and swift regardless of Israel's pre-election chaos. 

"The IDF's response only came after the third Qassam fired [at us], so you cannot blame the elections," he said. "There are no politics here: Israel must defend its citizens."

"Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - ed.] and Boogie [Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon - ed.] act as prime minister and defense minister and they need to respond to this, not push it off because of elections."

Yellin called upon the Prime Minister to formulate a clear-cut policy regarding Gaza.

"You have to finish the job in Gaza with demilitarization, or an agreement or truce; if not, then we have to eliminate them," Yellin said of Hamas. "But we have to have a policy."

Yellin's statements come in the wake of a shooting incident near the border with Gaza, which left an IDF soldier in critical condition. The incident is widely considered to be the worst of its kind since Operation Protective Edge ended in August. 

Eshkol Region head has been adamant that "Gaza war number four" is on its way, telling Arutz Sheva in November that not enough is being done to prevent it. He has been outspoken both about pursuing a military solution and signing a diplomatic agreement - anything to end the tense state of limbo and uncertainty between Israel and Gaza.