An irate Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Friday “not to ever second-guess me again” after Hamas violated the latest cease-fire agreement just 90 minutes after it went into effect.
The Israeli prime minister told President Obama and other top U.S. officials that two soldiers of the Gvati Brigade had been killed in an ambush, another had been captured, and Israel had been forced to retaliate with massive force, Israel’s, Israel’s Channel 1 reported.
Netanyahu stressed that he should be trusted on how to deal with Hamas – an organization the U.S. State Department and the United Nations call a terrorist group – and that pressuring Israel to accept a truce was not strategically wise. He now “expected” the United States and other countries to support Operation Protective Edge, unidentified sources told The Associated Press.
President Obama called Hamas’ action “barbaric” and demanded kidnapped Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin’s immediate and unconditional release.
“It’s going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israeli and the international community can’t feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment,” Obama said in a televised Friday afternoon press conference.
Secretary of State John Kerry also told his Turkish and Qatari counterparts that they should pressure Hamas to release the Israeli officer.
But no one in Israel expects Hamas to heed the directives, considering the terrorist organization’s actions in the past. In a highly unusual move, the Security Cabinet met in Tel Aviv for five hours on Saturday, the Sabbath, to review their goals in waging war in Gaza and to discuss their next steps.
Netanyahu will not be sending a delegation to Cairo on Sunday for cease-fire negotiations, as had been scheduled, Israel Radio reported, adding that obliterating Gaza’s sophisticated underground tunnel system had been explored along with other objectives.
At a press conference Saturday after the conclusion of the Sabbath, the Prime Minister said the “never second-guess me” quote attributed to him was “misdirected.”