“I hope President Abbas plays a constructive role. He has an opportunity to do so. I think he has to understand obviously that no one, and least of all Israel can accept the kind of terror attacks that are coming from Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday evening during a press conference at the Defence ministry in Tel Aviv.
“No other country has acted more rigorously than Israel in defending itself within legitimate means,” he said.
He continued : “I will look forward to restarting peace negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace with Israel, to the end of terror, to fulfilling the previous obligations that we have. And I think this is part and parcel of the larger picture that I’m talking about. We have to think carefully how we tie in the new circumstances to the advantage of peace and against terror.”
Netanyahu compared Hamas to Isis. “Isis is like Hamas. They’re branches of the same tree. And I can say that the entire world has been shocked by the atrocities of Isis. You saw this, the beheading of an American journalist, Foley. It shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people.”
“We face the same savagery. The people who wantonly rocket our cities and want to conduct mass killings, and when they can they murder children, teenagers; they shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor – their own people; and use their people as human shields.”
“Hamas is Isis; Isis is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace; they’re the enemies of Israel; they’re the enemies of all civilized countries. I believe they’re the enemies of the Palestinians. And I’m not the only one who believes it,” the Prime Minister said.
He said Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip is “a continuous campaign”, a day after a ceasefire collapsed as rocket fire resumed from Gaza into
Israel followed by Israeli air strikes against Hamas. Some 100 rockets were fired on Tuesday.
“In recent weeks, we have dealt Hamas a harsh blow,” Netanyahu said. “We have prevented, via Iron Dome, thousands of rockets from hitting our communities, and we destroyed thousands of rockets.”
Meanwhile, Hamas has warned international airlines against landing at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv starting at 6 a.m. Thursday. The Tel Aviv airport was among the Israeli strategic interests a Hamas spokesman warned would come under further rocket fire. Airlines temporarily suspended flights to Israel a month ago after a Hamas rocket fell within a mile of the airport.
In another development, a senior Hamas official admitted for the first time on Wednesday that the organization’s armed wing, the Kassam Brigades, was behind the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Nafatli Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah last June.
The Hamas official, Salah al-Aruri made the comments during a conference of Islamic clerics in Turkey. He praised the “heroic action of the Kassam Brigades who kidnapped three settlers in Hebron.”
Discord between Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to increase following revelations by Israel’s Shin Bet security agency that Hamas activists planned to overthrow the PA in the West Bank.
On Monday, the Shin Bet announced that it had arrested more than 90 Hamas operatives in May and June, confiscated dozens of smuggled weapons in the West Bank, and seized more than £100,000 aimed at funding attacks. Apparently, Hamas activists planned to carry out a string of attacks on Israel foment violence on the Temple Mount and use the instability to carry out a military coup against the PA.
Daily Haaretz reported that the PA security services knew nothing of the Hamas plan. It quoted an unnamed PA official who said “If we had known about such steps, there is no doubt the PA’s security services would have made the arrests … and would not have waited for Israel.” The official added that although Israeli reports aren’t “undisputed fact,” nonetheless “we are also aware that the ‘dream’ of taking over the West Bank has been going through the minds of Hamas leaders as far back as 2007.”
The PA and Hamas had been at loggerheads ever since Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007. However, in June, Abbas announced that a Palestinian unity government had been formed with the support of both Fatah and Hamas with a rapprochement apparently concluded. However, Abbas said on Monday that the Shin Bet’s discovery “could have dangerous implications for the unity of the Palestinian people.”