In an interview with Israel state radio on March 28, Steinitz, a leading
ally of Netanyahu, referred to the spate of Palestinian attacks along the
Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported. On March 27, two Israeli soldiers were
killed in an ambush claimed by both Hamas and the Iranian-sponsored Islamic
"I am not setting a timetable, but we will not tolerate this regime
continuing to strengthen itself militarily and providing itself with an
arsenal of rockets that threaten our territory," Steinitz said.
On March 30, Israeli soldiers fired into a march by thousands of Gazans
toward the eastern border with the Jewish state. The Palestinians said one
person was killed and several were injured.
Officials said Hamas has renewed attacks on Israel for the first time
since the war in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009. They said
the Hamas campaign has sparked plans for a massive Israeli retaliation.
"We have no choice," Steinitz said.
Officials said Hamas has also enabled Palestinian militias in the Gaza
Strip to attack Israel's security fence. Still, they said, the Islamic
regime continues to restrain the militias from missile and rocket strikes.
For his part, Netanyahu warned Hamas of Israeli retaliation.
"Israel's policy of retaliation is forceful and decisive," Netanyahu
told the Cabinet on March 28. "This policy is well-known and will continue.
Hamas and the other terror organizations need to know that they are the ones
that are responsible for their own actions."