Bennett: Past year has been quietest in South since 2005 Disengagement

The year in which Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was in office was the quietest for Israel’s South since the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, he told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

“We improved the security and lives of the residents of the south and brought back deterrence,” Bennett said. “This is a great achievement of this government.”

Terrorists in Gaza launched a total of nine rockets into Israel in the past year, six of which were in 2022. Past years had significantly more rockets, though the first half of 2015 was as quiet as 2022 so far.

“This is a result of a clear, determined policy of aggressive responses to Hamas,” Bennett stated.

Pointing to the Jerusalem Day flag march, which proceeded as planned despite Hamas saying it would attack Israel, Bennett said “we didn’t give into Hamas threats.”

People hold up Israeli flags at the annual Jerusalem Day flag march. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Iran the octopus

Bennett returned to his frequent metaphor for Iran as an octopus, saying that Israel’s strategy has changed in the last year, in that it is “acting against the head… and not just its arms as we had in recent years.”

“Israel cannot and will not accept this situation” in which Iran enriches uranium beyond 60% purity, Bennett said. Iran came closer to having enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon last year than ever before; weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90%.

The prime minister called on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors to “send a warning sign to Tehran if they continue their provocative policies.”

The Board of Governors began meeting on Monday, and is expected to discuss a resolution, proposed by Great Britain, France, Germany and the US, calling on Iran to answer the IAEA’s queries about undeclared nuclear sites.

Bennett said Israel “will continue to act and maintain freedom of action against Iranian nukes as needed.”

“We don’t just say it – we do it,” he added.

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