World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman would not support a ceasefire with Hamas amid ongoing speculation that a truce is imminent, Israeli media reported Friday.
According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Lieberman made the assertion at a meeting with local officials in southern Israel near the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
“I am not involved in the arrangement,” Lieberman was quoted as saying in reference to persistent rumors of a looming ceasefire.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction,” he said. “I don’t think we have anything to talk about.”
“In recent days, we have seen that Hamas is in total control of what goes on here [i.e., along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone],” he added.
Lieberman went on to assert that violence along the buffer zone had recently decreased “almost to zero”.
“If there is calm this Friday [along the buffer zone], the [Gaza-Israel Kerem Shalom] border crossing will remain open,” he said. “If there’s no calm, it will be closed.”
The defense minister added: “If we decide that we have no choice but to launch a military operation [against Gaza], we will do what needs to be done.”
In recent weeks, Palestinian activists in Gaza have been flying flaming kites and balloons over southern Israel as part of ongoing rallies along the buffer zone.
According to Israeli officials, the improvised aerial weapons have caused a number of fires inside Israeli territory resulting in significant material damage but no deaths or injuries.
Since the Gaza rallies began on Mar. 30, more than 170 Palestinian protesters have been martyred -- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli army troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.
In a related development Friday, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said the Gaza rallies were set to continue “with a view to confirming our people’s determination to achieve their goals”.
Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2018, 16:09