Israel is not inclined to wage an "unnecessary war" in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday.
Netanyahu made his comment at a press conference heralding the appointment of Amir Yaron as Governor of the Bank of Israel. A number of Israeli officials have suggested recently that their country is planning to launch another war on Gaza.
"We don't yearn for an unnecessary war in Gaza," Netanyahu stressed, although he warned, "The Palestinians know very well that if the price is going to be paid, it will be heavy." The Israeli government, he added, is trying to "find solutions to restore calm in the enclave."
Astonishingly, given the fact that Israel has been blockading the territory for 12 years, the Israeli leader accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of "strangling" Gaza, an allusion to the punitive measures imposed by the Palestinian Authority.
On the issue of elections in Israel, Netanyahu said that he was "unsure" when they will be held. In recent weeks there have been predictions about early elections by the end of next year following alleged disagreements within the Israeli government over the military recruitment draft law. Jewish religious parties refuse to impose compulsory conscription on ultra-Orthodox Jews, even though military service is generally compulsory on all Israeli Jews aged 18 and over. According to Netanyahu, his government is "exerting efforts to solve the military recruitment issue."
In closing, the Israeli Prime Minister insisted that an early election proposal has nothing to do with the investigations that are being carried out by the Israeli police over alleged corruption charges against him. "I do not think there will be an indictment against me," he said.