Greenblatt: Islamic Jihad threats 'significantly harm the people of Gaza'

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November 14, 2017 08:38

On October 30, the IDF blew up a terror tunnel penetrating into Israeli territory, an act the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed killed 12 members of the militant group.

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Greenblatt: Islamic Jihad threats 'significantly harm the people of Gaza'

US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt (L) and Major General Yoav Mordechai (R).. (photo credit:COORDINATION OF GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES IN THE TERRITORIES)

Islamic Jihad provocations against Israel threaten Gaza's civilian population and are dangerous, said the US after the IDF moved its Iron Dome batteries to the center of the country out of concern for the potential of an attack from Gaza.

“Extremist statements & provocation vs. Israel by Islamic Jihad significantly harm the people of Gaza & are very dangerous," the US special envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted early Tuesday morning.

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“The PA must resume full responsibility in Gaza. [The] US is working with the PA, Israel, Egypt & others to try to improve the situation. Gaza deserves better," he said.

Earlier this week the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also chastised the group.
View from Gaza as IDF blows up Hamas tunnel reaching into Israeli territory, October 30, 2017. (Courtesy)

“The reckless actions and statements of militants in Gaza risk a dangerous escalation. Palestinians have embarked on a course to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Strip and bring back the legitimate authorities. They should not be distracted by extremists,” Mladenov said.

On Monday Netanyahu told the Knesset he had spoken with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, although he did not link it specifically to the Gaza crisis. Egypt, which also borders Gaza has historically been an important broker for Israel with regard to the Strip.

“Last weekend I spoke on the phone with the president of Egypt, an important conversation for the security of both countries,” Netanyahu said.

Tensions between Israel and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza have simmered over the last two weeks after Israel discovered and blew apart a tunnel the militant group had dug into its territory, killing 12 Palestinians.
Propaganda video by Islamic Jihad in Gaza against Israel, November 2, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories have warned the IDF would respond to harshly to violent attacks, adding that they held Hamas responsible for the violence in Gaza.

Islamic Jihad in turn has said its threats were tantamount to declarations of war.

On Sunday, the group responded by declaring "the threats of the Zionist enemy to harm the organization's leadership are a declaration of war."

"It is our right to respond to any aggression, including the right to respond to the crime of attacking the tunnel east of Dir al-Balah, where 12 Mujahideen from Al-Qassam and Saraya al-Quds fell," said the group.

On Monday the IDF arrested Islamic Jihad leader Tariq Qa’adan in the West Bank.

The escalation comes just as Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo intended to end the decade long enmity between them. It’s a move that is designed to pave the way for Fatah to regain control of the Gaza Strip.

Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu), who is the former head of the IDF’s southern command, told Army Radio that if the Islamic Jihad maintains the peace, Israel will as well.


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