Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel has no plans to attack Gaza, Defense Liberman Avigdor Liberman said in a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting Monday.
Liberman cited a report by Al-Hayat in London claiming Israel is going to attack and assassinate the heads of Hamas during an upcoming military exercise.
“I want to make it clear, we have no intention to initiate any military action in Gaza, but I’m glad that Hamas’s leadership is panicking, which says a bit about their courage,” he quipped.
Liberman also discussed the humanitarian situation in Gaza, saying it is bad, but not a crisis.
The defense minister accused the local and international media of spreading “disinformation” about the situation in Gaza.
“In 2017, Hamas spent $260 million to manufacture rockets and dig tunnels, $100 million of which came from Iran
, and the rest from tax collection and other donations,” Liberman said. “Hamas invested $260 million in military strength and wouldn’t divert even one shekel toward water, electricity, health or education... They’re willing to sacrifice all the residents of Gaza.”
Unlike most Gazans, who can only use electricity for a few hours each day, Liberman said that Hamas’s leadership has access to electricity all day long.
“The situation in Gaza is certainly difficult. There is a very complex economic situation that must be taken care of, but no humanitarian crisis,” Liberman stated.
In addition, he said the person who decides whether there’s a humanitarian crisis or not is the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, and he does not say it’s a crisis.
The problems in Gaza have to do with disagreements between Fatah and Hamas, Liberman posited.
“We’re not part of it. Whoever suggests we take Israeli taxpayers’ money and give it to Gaza is mistaken. Hamas is trying to use their economic crisis... and is certain that Israel will blink first. So, I suggest we all calm down. These matters must be taken care of with nerves of steel and good judgment,” he added.
“We won’t take responsibility, and we won’t pay, and talking about rehabilitation today, before there’s any progress on the issue of our captives - that’s simply immoral,” Liberman argued.
At the same time, Liberman said his policy is that anyone who wants to pay for civilian projects in Gaza can do so without Israel blocking them.