Netanyahu threatens enemies will pay the price

IIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened crackdown after the rocket fire 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 militant Palestinians. In the past few days, there have also been several rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip in southern Israel.

Netanyahu further said 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 right-wing religious government that has been dividing Israeli society for weeks.

The military should arm themselves

“Our enemies will learn again that in time 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 previously instructed the military to prepare for “any possible response”.

An Israeli howitzer near the border with Lebanon

An Israeli howitzer near the border with Lebanon

Image: EPA

According to Lebanese reports, Israel’s artillery fired on targets in the border area in response. Israel’s 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 Places. 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 the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also sacred to Jews because there used to be two Jewish temples there. The Temple Mount is under Muslim administration while Israel is responsible for security. The Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel of wanting to expand its control of the holy site.

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