Israel is fighting a battle on three fronts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, warning that an escalation in any one of those arenas could have an incendiary effect on the other two.
“We are in a struggle for Israel’s security firstly in maintaining quiet on the Temple Mount [in Jerusalem], secondly in the West Bank and thirdly in Gaza,” Netanyahu said during a visit to an IDF’s Gaza Division headquarters in the Western Negev.
“A flare-up in any one of these fronts could ignite the the others,” he said, and praised the readiness of Israeli forces.
On all three fronts, Netanyahu said, Israel had implemented policies to restore calm and work against terrorism in “a responsible and proportionate manner, with force, sometimes with much force when necessary.”
An Israeli was killed Tuesday and two others were wounded in twin West Bank attacks as the current round of violence between Israel and the Palestinians showed no signs of abating.
The prime minister was briefed on the security situation along the Gaza border by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, and other IDF officials.
“My impression is that the situation here is under control,” Netanyahu said from a military lookout point over the Gaza Strip.
He said that he holds Gaza’s ruling Islamist party Hamas responsible for the affairs inside the coastal Strip, and said Israel would not tolerate any breach of its borders, or attacks against its citizens.
“My impression is that this message was understood,” he said.
Hours after Netanyahu’s visit, a Palestinian man was reportedly killed and three others injured in clashes with the IDF near the Gaza border, east of the Bureij refugee camp in the central Strip.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza identified the man as 27-year-old Ahmed Sharif al-Sarhi.
An IDF spokeswoman said that in a separate incident, two Palestinian men breached the border fence into Israel, close to Bureij. IDF troops apprehended the suspects, who do not appear to have been armed.