Hamas is sovereign over Gaza and Israel expects it to prevent other armed organizations from attacking Israel, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday, during a tour of a drill held by the Givati Brigade in the Binyamin region.
Should Hamas fail to restrain other terror groups from firing on Israel, Gaza will not experience quiet, Ya'alon warned, adding, "I hope that Hamas and the other organizations understood this matter, and will calm down. For added safety, we are prepared for the possibility of an escalation. We've mobilized an Iron Dome battery [to the south], and have carried out additional preparations."
Addressing rising Palestinian violence in the West Bank, Ya'alon said organized groups are not behind such attacks, but rather, individual attackers like the man who stabbed a policeman in Kikar Adam earlier this week. "But it's clear to us that these attacks are the results of incitement," the defense minister said. He blamed the Palestinian Authority for incitement to hatred against Israel.
"We'll know how to deal with this, whether by reinforcing forces or by getting to every terrorist and holding him to account," Ya'alon stated.
Ya'alon said Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic talks are sparking incitement, and linked them directly to the rising tide of West Bank violence.
Addressing prisoner releases, which Israel is set to carry out soon, Ya'alon said, "We are not happy about releasing prisoners. In the past, I've said that releasing prisoners stems from wider considerations. We are before the third release… and we'll hold talks in the right places to decide whether and who to release."
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