Yoaz Hendel
Yoaz HendelIsrael National News

Minister Yoaz Hendel (New Hope) commented on Sunday on the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards central Israel, telling Radio 103FM in an interview that Israel must respond to any violation of its sovereignty.

"We have been in a war of attrition against the Gaza Strip since the Disengagement and from time to time we find ourselves in a military operation. To this day, the State of Israel has not decided what it wants in the Gaza Strip. Until that happens, the most basic thing is that we must respond to any violation of our sovereignty and the response should be such that it does not erode our deterrence," said Hendel.

"For many years we have eroded the deterrence, we contained many Hamas attacks in our direction and we will eventually have to reach a decision. First of all, we at the political level decide what we do and then, if there is no quiet, there will be military decision. There will be no choice if it continues. Right now, the way we manage this reality is that we respond to every violation and will continue to respond. Even if [the rocket] only explodes in the sea - even then it is an incident that cannot go without a retaliation," he added.

Hendel criticized the meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas which took place at Gantz’s home last week.

"I look at Abbas and I see a Holocaust denier, a person who engages in doublespeak. I see the pictures of those who met with Arafat and am even more filled with a sense of discomfort. I would not have met him even if I were the defense minister," he said.

"It is in our interest, of the State of Israel, that the Palestinian Authority does not collapse. We do not want to be the ones disposing the garbage there and we do not want to be the ones responsible for their education. We do want to come in every few nights and arrest terrorists because there is no other choice," Hendel added.