NewsIsrael aims at 'forceful deterrence' but could 'conquer' Hamas:...

Israel aims at ‘forceful deterrence’ but could ‘conquer’ Hamas: PM


TelAviv, Israel: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday the bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip aims to deter Hamas but did not rule out a campaign to “conquer” the enclave’s Islamist rulers.

“There are only two ways that you can deal with them,” he said about Hamas in a Tel Aviv briefing for a group of foreign ambassadors.

“You can either conquer them, and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don’t rule out anything.”

The hawkish premier insisted Israel “didn’t seek” the escalation that began on May 10 when Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem after demanding that Israeli security personnel vacate the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site.

Netanyahu linked the dramatic surge in violence to a decision by Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas to cancel Palestinian elections that had been scheduled for this weekend.

Abbas’s secular Fatah movement had reached a deal with its long-term rivals Hamas to hold the vote, but Abbas canceled it citing Israel’s refusal to guarantee voting in annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital.

Hamas accused Abbas of perpetrating a “coup” against the agreement, and of giving Israel a veto over the Palestinian right to vote.

Palestinian experts have said Hamas is now seeking to establish itself as the real defenders of Palestinians against Israel, and as a more forceful voice than Abbas’s Fatah.

Netanyahu said that when Hamas “saw that these elections were not going to take place, they sought to… incite riots, to incite violence, in order to further their political goals”.

He implied Hamas was also responsible for an escalation of unrest in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah area, where a Jewish settler effort to evict Palestinians from their homes has fuelled months of anger.

And he blamed the Islamists for the clashes at Al-Aqsa, which was stormed by Israeli security forces in response to Palestinian stone-throwing during the holy month of Ramadan.

“I have to say that we didn’t expect quite a conflagration,” Netanyahu said.

“What we did was everything in our power to deescalate the potential conflict around Jerusalem and the Temple Mount,” he added, using the Jewish term for the Al-Aqsa compound, which is also a sacred site for Jews.

The goal of the Gaza campaign is to “degrade Hamas’ capabilities, their terror capabilities, and degrade their will,” Netanyahu said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

China’s Hou wins first weightlifting gold of Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, Japan: China's Hou Zhihui took the first weightlifting gold of Tokyo 2020 on Saturday as she dashed India's...

Tokyo Olympics rowing rescheduled over tropical storm

Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Olympic organizers brought forward rowing events as a "protective measure" Saturday as a tropical storm heads...

Lebanon can’t handle next Covid wave: hospital chief

Beirut, Lebanon: Lebanon's deepening economic crisis has piled pressure on hospitals, leaving them ill-equipped to face any new wave...

India rescuers hunt for survivors as monsoon toll hits 76

Mumbai, India: Rescuers in India combed through mud and debris Saturday in a desperate search for survivors as the...

Empty streets as Hanoi goes into lockdown as virus cases soar

Hanoi, Vietnam: Vietnam locked down eight million people in Hanoi on Saturday, the latest attempt to curb a serious...

Mirabai Chanu fetches India Olympic silver in weightlifting

Kolkata, India: Mirabai Chanu won India's first Olympic medal, a silver medal in 49kg weightlifting with a total lift...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you