In an interview during Channel 2’s “Meet the Press,” Netanyahu was repeatedly asked whether he would gain politically from the surge in violence, but refused to directly address the question. Still, he made clear that the escalation did not come as a surprise.
“I would ask whether what I warned about has materialized…yes, it has materialized,” he said.
The escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip is taking place at a critical juncture, as Likud Central Committee members prepare to decide whether to bring forward the ruling party’s primaries, a move that would in effect mark a direct challenge against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
'Gaza turned into Islamic terror base'
According to Netanyahu, the current state of affairs was unnecessary.
“We could have left Gaza in a different way, through agreements,” he said. “The problem is we gave, we uprooted…and didn’t get anything in exchange. The Philadelphi route has been breached, there’s a huge inflow of weapons, including missiles. Right now I expect the government to adopt severe measures in order to end this once and for all.”
Netanyahu warned the Gaza Strip has turned into “an Islamic terror base.”
“That’s what I predicted…I told the government, don’t give away the Philadelphi route and they told me I was fear-mongering. The fact is the price of a Kalashnikov dropped because of the inflow of weapons.”
Netanyahu proceeded to issue a scathing attack against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, slamming him for adopting far-left policies.
“The prime minister went so far to the left, today you must ask whether we’re Likud or (left-wing party) Meretz,” he said. “What’s happening in Gaza now improves security? I would have left differently, not by escaping.”