Smotrich (left) and Gallant (right)
Smotrich (left) and Gallant (right)Flash 90

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich wrote this evening to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Regarding reports that the rules of engagement on the Gaza Border had been changed.

“First, I once again encourage you and the IDF soldiers and officers in our just war to destroy Hamas, recover the hostages, and remove the threat from the Gaza Strip towards Israel,” Smotrich began.

“Recently, testimonies from IDF soldiers stationed along the border have been piling up, according to which Gazans are once again entering the area near the border fence to distances of six or seven hundred meters, and the soldiers have not been allowed to fire at them to drive them away and prevent them from remaining in the area.”

“According to these testimonies, firing in such a manner requires high-level authorization that takes significant time and in many cases is not granted, and is anyways relatively ineffective.”

“ I believe it unnecessary to expand on the importance of stringently maintaining the perimeter as a total kill zone in which no one is allowed to enter or remain. This must be one of the lessons of the events that preceded the October 7th massacre, which included wearing down the kill zone near the border fence over the years that preceded the massacre and the use Hamas and Islamic Jihad made of the population remaining in the border fence area to prepare for the massacre.”

"As you are aware, the decision to make a perimeter was authorized by the Cabinet, with emphasis on the rationale stated above, and along with it the decision that anyone entering the area is responsible for their own death. If the testimonies from the soldiers are correct, this constitutes a serious incident. In order for the perimeter to carry out its long-term goals, the stringent preservation of the kill zone must be complete. Otherwise, we are in danger of gradually being worn down in a manner that will deal critical damage to its effectiveness, as stated above in regard to the October 7th massacre.”

“The Chief of Staff’s answer to my question in this regard in the last Cabinet meeting does not satisfy me, in particular, because they are not aligned with the many testimonies of the soldiers from the field.”

“ I request that you investigate the matter in detail, examine the situation, and correct that which must be corrected immediately. Protecting our achievements thus far, which have come at a great price, the security of residents of the south, and their ability to once again believe in the IDF and the government to provide them security is at stake. No less important is the morale of the soldiers and their belief in the goals of the war and the determination of their commanders to achieve those goals with full force.”