Prime Minister and Defense Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Wednesday, 3 July 2019), chaired a Security Cabinet meeting at the IDF Gaza Division HQ and also met there with local and regional council heads from the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the south.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

"We just held a Security Cabinet meeting at IDF Gaza Division HQ with GOC Southern Command and the Gaza Division commander. Our policy is clear: We want to restore the calm but at the same time we are also prepared for a wide-ranging military campaign, if it proves necessary. These are my instructions to the IDF.

I also met here with council heads from Ashkelon and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. I discussed with them the required steps and we gave instructions how to help them.

I regret that some of the council heads who always say that we do not listen to them – left precisely when we came to listen to them, but we will do what is necessary for everyone.

Regarding the demonstrations by members of the Ethiopian community. This community is dear to us. I say this as someone who today will chair a meeting of the ministerial team that is dealing with the problems of this community. We will discuss all issues but we will also discuss something that is unacceptable. We are not prepared to either accept or tolerate the blocking of roads and the use of violence including firebombs against our forces, the burning of cars or any other property of citizens. We are a nation of law. We demand that everyone respect the law.

We held discussions about over-policing, about changing patterns of behavior vis-à-vis members of the Ethiopian community. This has already led to an improvement and it could be that we need to bring about many more improvements but one thing is certain. This cannot be dealt with by blocking roads or by violence; by responsible means certainly, to this end we are convening the committee."

Following the Security Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Kahlon met with the following council heads from the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip: The Mayor of Ashkelon, the Chairman of the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, the Chairman of the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, and the Chairman of the Merhavim Regional Council, who also chairs the Union of Regional Councils. Also in attendance were the Cabinet Secretary, Chairman of the National Security Council, Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, GOC Southern Command and the commander of the IDF Gaza Division.