Liberman to Hamas: You can’t continue the border violence for ever

"I hope it will be a quiet weekend, but if there are warning sirens here, there will be warning sirens there,” he said.

July 27, 2018 18:18
2 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Defense Minister Avigdor Libeman warned Hamas Friday that it cannot continue its Gaza border violence forever.

Speaking at Kibbutz Or HaNer near Sderot, he blamed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza on Hamas’ refusal to spend “not even one penny” on its civilians.”

Hamas is “cynically exploiting” Gaza civilians so as to enflame them against the state of Israel and its citizens, he said.

The homes of the Hamas leaders have running water and electricity 24-hours a day, “They lack for nothing,” Liberman noted.

He comments referred to the Hamas-led Great March of Return, which began on March 30. The ongoing protest along Israel’s border has included infiltration attempts, sniper fire, burning tires and throwing Molotov cocktails. Protesters have also launched incendiary kites and balloons against southern Israel resulting in the burning thousands of hectares of forests and fields. Rocks and mortars have also been launched.

Israel has launched retaliatory strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, including on Friday. At least 174 Palestinians including 31 children and 7 Israelis have been killed in Middle East violence in 2018.

Liberman urged Hamas to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians had a quiet weekend so that the IDF would not be forced to take military action.

“I think we really do not want to be drawn into a war. We do everything to prevent a wide-scale military campaign. But the ball is not in our court. It is in their court,” Liberman said.

He urged Hamas to refrain from violence and to be wise so that Israel is not forced “to do what we know how to do and do not want to do.”

“I hope it will be a quiet weekend, but if there are warning sirens here, there will be warning sirens there,” he said.

Liberman spoke as numerous cease-fire initiatives have failed. The UN and Egypt have worked persistently behind the scenes to find a formula that would prevent any further violence.

But at best, they have managed to achieve periods of calm, between violent flare ups, as the Hamas-led violence along Israel’s southern border continued on Friday.

UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladneov, who has tweeted messages about the continued violence, issued another message Thursday night on Twitter.

“All concerned parties are working very hard to avoid escalation, resolve all humanitarian issues and support reconciliation,” Mladenov wrote.

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