Polls show that currently 85% of Israelis support the Gaza assault, which isn’t surprising since only four Israelis have died so far. Despite such apparent (and momentary) consensus, it is telling that Haaretz reports the Likud mayor of Netivot has come out clearly and plainly for Israeli negotiations with Hamas. Not only is the mayor a Likud member, he’s a central committee member. This is an astonishing development and shows that cracks are beginning to develop in the consensus:
One of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s most important supporters in the Negev, longtime Netivot Mayor Yehiel Zohar, is calling on Israel to negotiate with Hamas.
“The fact that we have so far not held talks with Hamas is a mistake,” Zohar told Knesset members and cabinet ministers who visited Netivot on Monday, two days after city resident Bebert Vaknin was killed in a rocket attack there, the day the Israel Defense Forces assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip began.
“In order to achieve the calm we are hoping for, we will have to speak to Hamas this time around, too,” said Zohar, a Likud Central Committee member. “It’s too bad they didn’t aspire enough to an agreement, because ultimately we’ll be talking only with Hamas.”
Even if the mayor withdraws his remarks (which he will no doubt be under tremendous pressure to do), they are startling and significant.
Today’s news brings reports that Hamas rockets have landed in the outskirts of Beersheba, a city never before in the shadow of Palestinian firepower.