The time has come for Israel to consider retaking the Gaza Strip, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday, just hours after Palestinian terrorists operating out of the coastal enclave fired a volley of six missiles into southern Israel.
Four of the missiles landed in open areas, and the other two, which were heading toward population centers, were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.
It was the first such multi-rocket attack since last November's Operation Pillar of Cloud, when Israel heavily bombarded Gaza in response to escalating terrorist assaults on southern Israel.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Lieberman said that Gaza's Hamas rulers have "no intention of ever reconciling with a Jewish presence" anywhere in the Land of Israel, so such escalations can only become a constant feature of life for Israelis living in the region.
The necessary alternative, according to Lieberman, is to "return to the Gaza Strip and conduct a thorough cleaning."
The overnight missile attacks were believed to be the result of an internal rift between Hamas and Islamic Jihad, one of the smaller terror groups that also uses Gaza as a base of operations.
Islamic Jihad officials on Monday said they no longer recognized Hamas rule in Gaza. As the conflict between the two groups grows, Israel expects to more provocation aimed at drawing it into the fray.