While there have been reports of ongoing ceasefire negotiations, the Israeli government warned on Wednesday evening that it is “prepared to continue.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant released statements about Operation Shield and Arrow to the press on Wednesday night.
“We are still in the midst of the conflict. Our forces are currently hitting targets in the Gaza Strip with great force and the terrorist organizations are paying a heavy price. Anyone who harms us will pay the price,” said Netanyahu
The prime minister warned the terror groups: “We see you everywhere. You cannot hide and we choose the place and the time to strike you. We are in control, not you. This is not just our response, but also our choice of calmness.”
Netanyahu said the Israel Defense Forces has been demonstrating its capabilities in Operation Shield and Arrow, including its ability to target both leaders and facilities.
“So far, we have inflicted the most severe blow in the history of Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Within seconds – two seconds in the middle of the night – we killed, simultaneously, in three separate locations, senior members of the terrorist organization.”
The IDF eliminated rocket production facilities as well, Netanyahu claimed.
“We hit their entire network, its rocket production facilities. In response, Islamic Jihad launched rockets, nearly a third of which fell in their own territory. We intercepted the vast majority using our defense systems.”
He continued, “I want to praise the defense establishment that brought new systems into operation successfully today.”
Gallant echoed Netanyahu’s determination.
“We are prepared to continue to act against Gaza and against any other party that dares to challenge us or make other threats that could develop. Our response from last night – we can duplicate it to other places, in any sector and in any target that poses a threat to us,” Gallant said.
Regarding reports of a ceasefire, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said, “Until it's official, it's not official. The IDF focuses on attacks on those who fire at us and on defense, while focusing on Islamic Jihad. Until the ceasefire goes into effect, we continue to act.”
It was reported in Hebrew news media last night that Egypt presented the Palestinian factions with a proposal to end the conflict and declare a mutual ceasefire. They also noted the Palestinians rejected the proposal.
According to those reports, the Palestinians rejected the Egyptian proposal because it did not include an Israeli commitment to stop targeted assassinations in Gaza and the West Bank, cancel the upcoming Flag Day parade, and return the body of Khader Adnan.
The Israeli government, for its part, said that if the rocket fire from Gaza Strip is stopped, Israel will not attack either.
Reportedly, the defense establishment is concerned that with each passing day of fighting, the chances of Hamas joining the conflict increases. The government wants to avoid this.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Yair Lapid called for Operation Shield and Arrow to be stopped, saying, “There are no political gains that Israel needs at the moment from this operation. The operation had nice results, and we must stop now.”
Lapid appeared to reject the idea of acceding to Palestinian demands as part of a ceasefire. Speaking about the Jerusalem Day Flag March, he said, “The state of Israel doesn't ask the terror organizations permission to march with flags.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.