PM says Gaza military operation is a last resort - but plans are ready if needed

'Israel has plans prepared for major Gaza operation if needed - but only as a last resort,' PM tells community leaders in southern Israel.

Tags: Gaza Region
David Rosenberg ,

Prime Minister's Office

Israel is not planning a major military operation in the Gaza Strip prior to the March 2nd Knesset election, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday, just over two weeks before Israelis head to the polls in the third general election in less than a year.

Netanyahu met with local council heads from Sderot and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in a gathering at the Prime Minister’s Office Sunday to discuss the security situation on the Gaza frontier, as well as efforts by the government to promote economic growth in western Negev.

Attending the meeting with the Prime Minister were Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Gadi Yarkoni, Ashkelon Coast Regional Council Chairman Itamar Revivo, Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council Chairman Ofir Levenstein and Sdot Negev Regional Council Chairman Tamir Idan.

The Prime Minister assured the community leaders that Israel is “prepared for any scenario”, the Prime Minister’s Office said, “including a wide-ranging operation”, but added that such an operation would only be undertaken if all other options to secure southern Israel failed.

“The operation plans are ready in any event and for any scenario,” Netanyahu said.

According to Channel 12, Netanyahu said that Israel is not planning to undertake a major Gaza operation in the next two weeks, and reassured local leaders that Israel will not dismantle any towns in the Gaza frontier area, including in the Eshkol Regional Council, as part of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan. In the peace plan, the Trump administration calls for land-swaps between Israel and a new Palestinian state, with Israel transferring parts of the Gaza frontier area and strips of land near the border with Egypt to a Palestinian state.