Reassurances by Israeli officials that quiet had been restored in the south may have been slightly premature, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Monday, amid mounting anger by southern residents over having been given the all-clear to return home last week only to see rocket attacks from Gaza resume shortly after.
“The first role of the Israeli government is to provide security for its citizens,” Lapid said during a visit to the southern city of Sderot. “Perhaps it was too early to declare the quiet that had not yet come.”
On Wednesday, the military’s homefront command arm withdrew emergency instructions for residents of the south, and IDF chief Benny Gantz said that residents “can return to their homes, work the fields and resume their good quality of life in the same manner as before,” as a three-day ceasefire appeared to spell the end of fighting.
On Friday, though, rocket fire resumed following Hamas’s refusal to extend the ceasefire, leading many residents and political leaders in the south to express frustration with the government.
On Sunday, Gantz, IDF Southern Command head Sami Turgeman and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch spoke with residents over the issue.
“We made mistakes in some of our assessments,” Turgeman said, according to Israeli daily Israel Hayom.
Lapid said the treasury would do its utmost to compensate residents in the country’s south.
“It is our duty to help the residents of Sderot and the Gaza periphery, to keep the city alive – militarily, economically and socially,” he said.
“We need to provide them with compensation now.”