Hamas does not fear a military showdown with Israel, a Hamas spokesperson said Thursday night. Hassam Kazam responded to comments by IDF Southern Command Gen. Ayal Zamir by saying that “the resistance in Gaza will continue to use all tools at its disposal to protect Palestinians from harm by Israel. Israel’s threats do not scare us, but we are not seeking to increase tensions. We are not afraid of further confrontations and will continue to resist the occupation.”
At a press conference Wednesday, Gen. Zamir displayed high-resolution images of Hamas terror tunnels built under schools, hospitals, mosques, and homes. Gen. Zamir warned those who cooperated with Hamas that they could be legitimate targets in an upcoming war.
“We have good intelligence on what Hamas is doing,” Gen. Zamir told reporters at a press conference, given in the wake of a Gaza Arab rocket attack on Ashkelon a day earlier. “Anyone in those homes or institutions endangers themselves and their families. Under international law, the buildings where these terror tunnels and military infrastructure are located become legitimate targets,” he said.
Hamas, he said, seeks to involve civilians as much as possible in its war efforts, in order to make it harder for the IDF to attack its infrastructure. In addition, Hamas gets the “benefit” of making the IDF look bad if it pursues destruction of this infrastructure within the civilian population, turning them into shields. “This is the main thrust of Hamas’s ‘defense’ of Gaza,” said Gen. Zamir.
Gen. Zamir also discussed the further construction of a border fence between Israel and Gaza. The new barrier, extending both above and below ground, is expected to make it much more difficult for Hamas to build and utilize terror tunnels. IDF officials believe the barrier will prevent Hamas from building any more tunnels and will render the existing ones useless.
Kazzam said that Hamas was not impressed. “As long as Israel continues to occupy our land, none of these efforts to impose a siege around us will not provide it with security.”