Lieberman: Hamas forcing us into ‘wide scale and painful operation’

During meeting with Gaza border residents, defense minister insists Israel has shown restraint and has conducted itself responsibly in face of ongoing fire terrorism, but cautions that without an intensified response, Israel’s deterrence capabilities hangs in the balance; ‘The situation is intolerable. We cannot accept it.’,7340,L-5313514,00.html

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Friday morning that the Hamas terror group is leaving Israel with no choice but to launch a “wide scale and painful military campaign,” as incendiary kites and balloons continue to fall from Gaza on Israeli border communities

“We are making efforts to weigh matters and be responsible, but the heads of Hamas are forcefully leading us to a situation in which we have no choice, to a situation in which we will have to embark on a wide scale and painful military operation that is not intended for show—a wide scale and painful military operation,” he repeated.

Lieberman’s comments come against a backdrop of American efforts to kick-start international aid initiatives to alleviate the economic paralysis gripping the Gaza Strip on condition that Hamas renounce terror.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Avi Roccah)

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Avi Roccah)

“Any reasonable person who sees the burned natural woodland which is thousands of dunams of agricultural farms that are burned understands that the situation is intolerable,” he said.

“We really are conducting ourselves responsibly and with restraint, even though the real problem with that is the erosion of deterrence, a change in the equation and, of course, the feeling of security which is no less important than security itself and having to come to terms with a reality in which at the end of last week the residents in the Gaza region were forced to run 20 times to bomb shelters or to make preparing their safe rooms an integral part of their Shabbat. We cannot accept this kind of situation,” the minister contonued.

The blame, he said, lies purely with Hamas’s leadership, “but unfortunately, the resident of Gaza will also have to pay the price, Therefore, I call on the residents of Gaza first of all to put pressure on Hamas to change direction, to change the equation. It is possible to return to a civil and reasonable reality and for easing economic (hardships—ed) in exchange for a complete cessation of terror and provocations on the border fence.”

 (Photo: Avi Roccah)

(Photo: Avi Roccah)

Reiterating that the situation was “intolerable”, Lieberman emphasized that Israel was “genuinely making efforts to show restraint” and to show responsibility. However, he added that the issue was no longer one that only concerned burn landscape, but also maintaining Israel’s deterrence capabilities.

“This is obviously the most important thing … There should be no misunderstanding or illusions,” he said about involvement of Hamas’s higher echelons in organizing the launching of incendiary balloons and kites.

“It’s not something spontaneous, it’s not children, it’s not a wave, it’s the heads of Hamas who are leading the fires and kites and all the friction on the border,” he said.

The latest round of violence took place between Israel and the Gaza Strip when Israeli jets attacked on Thursday afternoon a terror squad launching incendiary balloons next to a Hamas military post in the southern Gaza Strip, killing one Hamas terrorist and  wounding three others.

Shortly after the Israeli jets attacked, two mortar shells were fired at IDF an force from southern Gaza near the border fence. No casualties were reported.

It was soon followed with four Code Red rocket alert sirens in the Eshkol Regional Council. Two mortar shells landed near a cowshed in Eshkol. The IDF responded with tank fire at a Hamas observation post.

First published: 07.20.18, 12:15

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