Bennett ready to 'give Hamas a chance' but prepares for 'painful spring'

The defense minister tells Ynet although recent easing of restrictions on Gaza indicate a step toward a ceasefire arrangement, the army is still preparing for a military campaign that would result in 'a fundamental change' in Gaza

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday he is prepared to “give Hamas a chance” to fully implement ceasefire understandings. He added that Israel is nonetheless preparing for a military campaign that would lead to “a fundamental change” in the Gaza Strip.
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  • Speaking in an interview with Ynet, just hours after the IDF announced further easing of restrictions on the Hamas-controlled enclave, Bennett claimed that if the terror group continues its violent attacks against Israel, they are in for “a very painful spring.”
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    תמונתו של נפתלי בנט
    תמונתו של נפתלי בנט
    Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevich)
    "If they renew the [explosive] balloon and rocket attacks, we'll close the border again," Bennett said, referring to the additional entry permits Israel granted the merchants in Gaza.
    “We are preparing for a situation where the quiet will not be preserved … If the quiet is maintained, as has been the case in recent days, it will be good for them. Their actions will determine."
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    לראשונה זה שנים: ישראל תעניק 7,000 היתרי כניסה לסוחרים מעזה
    לראשונה זה שנים: ישראל תעניק 7,000 היתרי כניסה לסוחרים מעזה
    Gazans line up to enter Israel after receiving entry permits
    (Photo: Roee Idan)
    "I know you expect that in 10 weeks we will solve problems that 20 years have not solved, slowly. They completely stopped the riots on the fence, they completely stopped the nighttime confusion units, stopped the smoke grenades and choked. "I am skeptical if military force can be avoided, I prefer. But if there is no choice, and I believe they are most likely to return to Soror, then we are preparing what we are preparing."
    The New Right leader, who used to be one of the main proponents of toppling Gaza’s rulers, sounded more muted in his threats, saying Hamas-led violence along the border has decreased.
    “They completely stopped the rioting along the fence, the raids of the night units and smoke grenades. It has been a few days since they stopped the balloon attacks,” he said.
    “I remain skeptical, but if the use of military force can be avoided, I prefer it.“
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