Liberman: Prime Minister ‘Pressing’ to Ship Fuel to Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
Iron Dome anti-missile system fires an interceptor missile as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel near Sderot, in August. (Reuters/Amir Cohen, File)

Hours after Israel on Wednesday announced that it was renewing shipments of oil and gas to Gaza, the response of Gaza Arab terrorists was to fire two rockets at Israel – and that is in addition to the dozens of terror balloons that were dispatched at Israel in just the past few days. And if Israel, after all that, is still shipping fuel to Gaza on Thursday, it is, according to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is insisting that the fuel be shipped.

The Iron Dome defense system knocked out one rocket that was fired from Gaza Wednesday night. A second rocket fell in an open area of the western Negev. No injuries or damage were reported in either attack. The IDF later hit back at Gaza, targeting eight Hamas installations, the army said in a statement.

Speaking on Army Radio Thursday, Liberman said that “this week alone there were dozens of terror balloons and nonstop rioting, and on Wednesday and Thursday we allowed shipments of the fuel paid for by Qatar into Gaza. An Egyptian delegation that visited Gaza told us to give it another chance, and we got a call from U.N. negotiator Nikolai Maldanov, who is a very fair person, asking the same. Everyone wants us to give the negotiations another chance, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been putting on a great deal of pressure to move the fuel into Gaza. So we are doing that,” Liberman said.

But if Netanyahu thinks that relieving the economic situation will pacify Gaza, he is wrong, Liberman said. “The heads of Hamas say clearly that it is not fuel and not salaries that will calm things down. They want us to lift the blockade against them, meaning they will be able to freely import arms and weapons, Hezbollah terrorists, and more – and this is impossible. Another active conflict with Hamas is inevitable. We have to hit them as hard as possible when we are able to.”

With that, IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said that Hamas was trying to avoid war. In a statement, Manelis said that “the reason Hamas is operating as it does with low-level terror attacks is because it is horrified at the idea of a war with Israel. It has failed time and again in its attempts to carry out major terror attacks, it has failed to attack us with tunnels, rockets and terrorist attacks, and it has paid a heavy price in dead and injured. It is a challenge to deal with the terror we are facing, but the IDF has shown that it can handle even more difficult and complicated challenges,” he added.