Netanyahu at cabinet meeting.
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
Hamas is mistaken if it thinks that it can cover its military defeat over the last month with a diplomatic achievement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu's comments came just prior to a resumption of the indirect talks between Israel and Hamas on Sunday in Cairo.
In an apparent response to Hamas's threats to engage Israel in a long war of attrition if its demands are not met, Netanyahu said that “if Hamas thinks we cannot stand for a long period, it is mistaken.”
"In the turbulent and unstable Middle East, it is not enough just to have more strength, you also need determination and patience,” he said. “Hamas knows that we have a lot of power, but perhaps it thinks we do not have enough determination and patience. And it is making a big mistake there as well.”
Netanyahu said Israel is a “strong and determined” nation, whose citizens and soldiers showed “amazing resilience and fortitude” and which will stand “united and firm” until “quiet and security” is returned to the country's citizens.
Netanyahu said Hamas suffered a harsh military blow, which included the destruction of their terror tunnels system that they spent years building, the killing of “hundreds of terrorists,” the interception of thousands of rockets, and the prevention of terror attacks from the “land, sea and air.”
“If Hamas thinks that by a continuation of a drizzle of rocket fire, we will make concession, it is mistaken,” Netanyahu said. “As long as the quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to absorb very hard blows.”
Netanyahu stressed that the Israeli delegation to the indirect talks in Cairo is working under “very clear directives” to stand firm on Israel's security demands. “Only if there will be a clear answer to our security needs will we agree to any understandings,” he said.