'Record number of trucks entering Gaza under Liberman's watch'

Zionist Union MK criticizes Defense Minister for not reducing the aid to Gaza as rockets are fired on southern Israel.

Shimon Cohen,

Ksenia Svetlova
Ksenia Svetlova
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) on Monday criticized the Israeli government’s response to the continued rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel.

"We are once again in a situation where the residents of the south have become hostages. Their lives have been thus far spared by a miracle, but we must not rely on miracles. We must provide protection for the residents of the south," Svetlova told Arutz Sheva, adding that although she is aware of the identity of the organizations responsible for the firing, "Hamas is in charge of Gaza.”

"There are several ways to make it clear to Hamas that this ‘trickling’ of rockets is unacceptable to us. The military option is one that is always available to us, but I will also mention that since Avigdor Liberman was appointed Defense Minister, the amount of goods entering the Gaza Strip continues to grow, and in fact we are at a record number of trucks entering the Gaza Strip through the crossings," she continued.

"We are aware of the civilian aspect, but we cannot ignore this issue. Israel is responsible for the lifeline that allows Hamas to continue to function, and we are the ones who say in a frenzy that ‘we will eliminate Haniyeh within 48 hours' (a promise made by Liberman before he became Defense Minister –ed.), but where is our real response [to the rocket fire]?"

"I would expect the Defense Minister to explain to the residents what he is doing against this murderous trickling that yesterday almost hit a home and we don’t know how far it can reach. I hope we do not reach a point where people are killed and then say we should’ve taken action,” said Svetlova.

"Hamas is playing a game of cat and mouse with us, just like in the second intifada when the Fatah leadership played games with us, saying that a rebellious organization was carrying out the terrorist attacks and that it does not know what to do with it, while they were the ones who gave the green light for those organizations to continue to operate. As far as we’re concerned it makes no difference. In the north we clarified that it does not matter who is firing, be it the rebels, the Syrian regime or Hezbollah, as far as we are concerned, there is one person responsible, and that is Bashar Al-Assad. The same logic should be applied in Gaza. Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar are turning a blind eye. They know how to act to prevent rocket fire. We have to force them to do so immediately and not to wait until we encounter cases of human tragedies."

Israel should not completely stop the trucks that bring goods and equipment into Gaza, opined Svetlova, but “we can reduce it to the levels of aid that went in during 2014 and 2013. Why now, when rockets are fired at us, should we be rewarding Hamas with these commodities which allow them to collect taxes? So long as security responsibility for Gaza has not been transferred from Hamas to Fatah, despite the failing agreements between them, every shekel that goes into Gaza directly enters Hamas's pocket and we are responsible for that. We are allowing the entry of a record amount of goods."

"We, the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, visited the Kerem Shalom crossing, and we were shocked to see all these trucks gathering there and entering Gaza without any issues, as Hamas enjoys all this abundance,” she added.

Asked why Israel does not reduce the scope of aid entering Gaza despite repeated calls for this to happen, Svetlova replied, "There are threats and there’s action. I would go back to the period of [former Defense Minister Moshe] Ya’alon, who knew how to reduce the aid and at the same time navigate the international system so that we are not perceived as the ones causing a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip while also not rewarding our greatest enemies, the ones who give the Salafist organizations a green light to shoot at us."