Netanyahu meets heads of Gaza-border communities


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a kindergarten in Sderot, a southern Israeli city on the border with Gaza, on July 16, 2018, two days after rockets shot by Hamas terrorists struck a nearby home and synagogue. (Haim Zach/GPO)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Sderot, where at least two rockets from Gaza caused serious damage and injured a family of four, and warned of a “a prolonged Zionist struggle.”

Netanyahu met Monday in Sderot with the heads of the local municipal councils of communities located in the Gaza border area.

“I have just finished an excellent meeting with the heads of councils in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. I told them that we are in a prolonged struggle,” Netanyahu said in a statement following the meeting.

On Saturday, more than 170 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza at southern Israel. Israel responded by striking some 40 Hamas terror targets in Gaza. In addition, in recent weeks thousands of acres of farmland and woodland have been burned by kites and balloons set alight and sent over the border from Gaza to Israel.

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“There is an exchange of blows here. It is not over in one go and I cannot comfort those who have taken the most difficult losses. This is very hard to take, but we know that we are in a prolonged Zionist struggle,” Netanyahu said.

“Just as we are now completing the blocking of the tunnels and as we took action and succeeded in stopping the mass storming of the fences, I have directed the IDF to defeat and stop the terror of incendiary kites and balloons, and we are in the midst of the process,” he said.

In a warning to the terrorist organization that runs Gaza, Netanyhu said: “It is important that Hamas understand that it faces an iron wall and this wall is comprised, first of all, of a determined government, of strong local leadership and Zionist settlement, and that we will continue to strengthen it and – of course – the IDF.”

Netanyahu said he is “proud of the marvelous local residents who are facing difficult days.” He added that he is “convinced of our common strength to rebuff, deter and, in the end, defeat this Gaza-based terror.”

Netanyahu visited a kindergarten in Sderot. “We are committed to them,” he said of the children, “and this is a continuous process. I do not want to tell anybody that it is over.”

He met with the municipal heads of Sderot, Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, Sdot Negev Regional Council,  Eshkol Regional Council, and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.