Labor-Gesher-Meretz leaders today delivered a joint security statement in Nativ HaAsarah, in light of the recent round of escalation in the south. Nativ HaAsara is a moshav in southern Israel. Located in the north-west Negev, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and is a regular target of Islamic fire from Gaza.
Labor-Gesher-Meretz Chairman MK Amir Peretz said: "Netanyahu strengthens Hamas and weakens deterrence. Bibi lets Hamas manage reality, determine the height of the flames, and determine the schedule between each and every round."
He said, "The next government, where we will be the key partners, will have to change that. We'll make sure it does. We will be the political compass to lead it to a solution. Changing reality instead of more and more irresponsible attempts to manage it.
"Hamas has no intention of reaching a final settlement and continues to stretch the rope, ignoring other acts of violence by other organizations. On the other hand, Netanyahu has no answer what will happen the next day, if we embark on a broad campaign," Peretz explained.
The former defense minister added, "It's time to tell the truth: Netanyahu makes a conscious choice in Hamas as a partner for continuing the conflict as a partner for his failed attempt to manage reality, rather than change it. He uses confrontation with Hamas as a smoke screen.
"Be clear: We prefer the Palestinian Authority as a partner for a possible resolution of the conflict, not Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a partner to continue the conflict. We propose a plan that will include a return to coordination with the Palestinian Authority and moderate states and the international community to build a plan to disarm the Gaza Strip in exchange for rehabilitating Gaza. In the second stage - presenting Hamas an ultimatum on rehabilitation in exchange for rocket disarmament, and preparing the Palestinian Authority to take responsibility for the Gaza Strip. Should Hamas refuse the demands, a comprehensive operation beginning with eliminating Hamas' rocket capability and ending with the Palestinian Authority returning to take control of Gaza and deploying a multinational force there," concluded Peretz.
Gesher Chairwoman MK Orly Levy Abucasis noted "Southern residents have been going through very difficult days. The unbearable daily reality that hasn't allowed them to live a regular and normal life routine for years, doesn't cause bodily injury only. It causes also, and most importantly - damage to the soul.
"Every citizen born here has a contract with the State; it provides him with the security, the most basic need of the person that only the State can provide in the broad sense and in exchange for paying tax and contributing to the society. Unfortunately, with regard to the Gaza envelope, for years the State has violated this agreement." she added.
She said, "Not only does the State not give its children the confidence to grow quietly and happily, as children are supposed to, it also renounces its responsibility to residents - adults and children alike, and doesn't provide them with the psychological treatments needed to cope with the traumas. When we're in the government there'll be no question at all about those psychologists, psychiatrists, and paramedical specialists. The basic duty of a government is to take care of its citizens who protect its borders every day by continuing to live and manage their lives in a conflict zone."
Meretz Chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz added, "For more than a decade Netanyahu has abandoned this important area. This is clearly a deliberate policy: To avoid a solution and leave the incessant bleeding of missiles, fires, and alarms that leads us every time to the same point. Even now he's making promises, making empty statements. Citizens' lives here are completely disrupted and by miracle no one was hurt anyone in this round - thanks to the Iron Dome system led by Amir Peretz when he served as Defense Minister."
He said: "You can't make do with Netanyahu's empty statements on deterring Hamas. It should be stressed: Military moves alone will not resolve the issue. Therefore, every security move must have a political aspect. In the first stage, a long-term arrangement. Economic and humanitarian regulation in Gaza and a complete cessation of the shooting and hostile operations against Israel. The second stage is direct negotiations with the Palestinians for a political solution which Gaza is part of. Unfortunately, Blue and White are also stammering on this issue. We, Labor-Gesher-Meretz, when we'll be big and strong in a Gantz government, we'll lead a real diplomatic move that will provide security, peace, and prosperity to this important region."