Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused the government of not doing enough to protect residents of Sderot and the western Negev.
“The government doesn’t understand that its ultimate obligation is to prevent the shelling of Sderot’s homes,” he said, “We can’t allow this situation to persist.”
During a speech at a Likud factional meeting on Thursday, Netanyahu also suggested several steps that the government could take in order to put an end to the Qassam rocket fire in the South.
“The government can do a lot of things to protect its citizens … It can impose a closure on the Gaza Strip, stop providing certain services to the Palestinian Authority such as electricity and water, and temporarily enter Gaza, four or five kilometers in,” Netanyahu said, prior to reports of several IDF tanks entering the city.
“At the moment, the government isn’t doing anything to protect Sderot residents. This silence, this omission, this helplessness has to go,” he added.
News of the Idf operation then reached the meeting, but MK Limor Livnat dismissed it, saying it was only done for the “appearance of a military operation”.
“If the government doesn’t give a real, serious response to the massive firing at Sderot over the past few days, it is not worthy of its place.”
MK Silvan Shalom said that a “ground assault is needed, and it is impossible to exterminate terror without it”.
“We mustn’t stay there permanently, it must be a timed operation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Gideon Ezra called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to immediately cut electricity to Gaza. “Blacking-out Gaza will cause residents to pressure Hamas activists to stop firing at Sderot and the area,” Ezra said.