Netanyahu threatens that enemies will pay the price

TheIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to strike after the rocket attack from Lebanon. “We will meet our enemies and they will pay the price for any aggression,” Netanyahu said at the start of a security cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Thursday evening.

According to the military, 34 rockets were fired into Israeli territory from Lebanon – more than at any time since 2006. Two people in northern Israel were slightly injured. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, Israel blamed Palestinian militants. In recent days, there have also been several rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

Netanyahu went on to say that the internal debate in Israel will not stop the country from taking action against the country’s enemies “anywhere, anytime.” Netanyahu was referring to a judicial reform pushed by the religious right-wing government that has divided Israeli society for weeks.

The army must be armed

“Our enemies will learn again that in times of war, Israeli citizens stand together and as one, supporting the actions of the military and other security forces to protect our country and our citizens,” Netanyahu said. Defense Minister Joav Galant earlier instructed the army to prepare for “any possible response”.

An Israeli howitzer near the border with Lebanon

Image: EPA

According to Lebanese reports, in response, Israeli artillery fired at targets in the border area. The Israeli military did not confirm this. The UN peacekeeping mission Unifil called on both sides to de-escalate. “The situation is very serious,” the organization said. Unifil’s blue helmets have been monitoring the border area between Israel and Lebanon since 1978.

The United States condemned the missile launch and pledged support. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering, and we recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against all forms of aggression,” said US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel.

The escalation was preceded by Israeli police clashes with Palestinians on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) in Jerusalem. Netanyahu said in the evening that Israel has no interest in changing the status quo of the Holy Land. He called for de-escalation. However, decisive action will be taken against “extremists”, he said.

The Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also sacred to the Jews, because there were two Jewish temples there. The Temple Mount is under Muslim administration, while Israel is responsible for security. Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel of wanting to expand its control over the holy site.

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