If Hamas does not stop its violent attacks against Israel, then Israel will stop them through forceful actions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at Sunday's cabinet meeting.
Commenting on the increase in violence along the border fence with Gaza, Netanyahu said that “Hamas has apparently not internalized the message – if they don't stop the violent attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful, very painful.”
Netanyahu said that Israel is “very close to a different type of action, action that will include very forceful blows.” He said that if Hamas were smart, “they would stop the fire and the violent riots – now.”
The security cabinet, which generally meets every Sunday afternoon, is scheduled to meet today and – among other issues – discuss the escalation along the Gaza border.
The warning comes after an especially violent weekend in which more than 20,000 Palestinians took part in the weekly "March of Return" riots and multiple attempts to breach the Gaza fence were prevented by IDF forces. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh also exchanged barbs, with Liberman ordering a full halt on gas and fuel deliveries
to the Gaza Strip.
Three Palestinians were killed in one incident after several Gazans breached the security fence in the southern Strip, and set off a bomb which set a section of the fence on fire. Immediately afterwards, a group of 20 Palestinians was seen crossing the fence and approaching an IDF sniper position, leading troops to open fire and kill the three men. The others returned to the Strip.
After several more attempts by terrorists to breach the fence on Saturday, Liberman tweeted: “As long as the violence in the Gaza Strip does not stop completely, including the launching of incendiary devices and the burning of tires close to Israeli communities, the supply of fuel and gas to the Gaza Strip will not be resumed”
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, speaking during the funeral of one of seven Palestinians killed in clashes with IDF soldiers along the border on Friday, said that the demonstrations will continue until the blockade is completely lifted. Referring to the gas and fuel deliveries, Haniyeh said “our marches are not for the sake of solar or dollars. Our people have the right to live in dignity and end the blockade.”Uri Bollag and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.
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