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Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Israel warns Hamas against continued rocket fire

By Ibrahim Barzak, Associated Press

Published: Sat, Aug. 2 11:26 p.m. MDT

 An Israeli soldier standing on top of a tank in a staging area near the Israel Gaza border, Saturday, August 2, 2014.

An Israeli soldier standing on top of a tank in a staging area near the Israel Gaza border, Saturday, August 2, 2014.

(Tsafrir Abayov, Associated Press)

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas on Saturday that it will "pay an intolerable price" if it continues to fire rockets at Israel, but also hinted that Israel would reassess its operations in the Gaza war once troops have demolished Hamas tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.

Netanyahu said in televised remarks that Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to the recurring conflict with Gaza's Hamas rulers, but will keep all military options open to restore security for Israeli civilians.

The Israeli leader spoke after 26 days of Israel-Hamas fighting that Palestinian health officials say has killed at least 1,650 Palestinians, most of them civilians, along with 66 Israelis, all but three of them soldiers.

Hamas has struck a defiant tone throughout the conflict, saying it will not halt fire unless it secures guarantees that Israel and Egypt will lift a seven-year-old border blockade of Gaza.

"We will continue to resist until we achieve our goals," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said after Netanyahu's speech, dismissing the Israeli leader's remarks as "confused."

Earlier Saturday, a Cabinet minister said that Israel won't be sending a delegation to Egypt-hosted indirect truce negotiations with Hamas for the time being.

The minister, Yuval Steinitz, alleged that Hamas had repeatedly violated cease-fire deals and that "this leads us to the conclusion that with this organization there is no point speaking" about any deal.

An Israeli official told The Associated Press that troops will remain in Gaza to wrap up the demolition of Hamas tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border, but that this is a matter of "not much more time." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss internal government deliberations with reporters.

Israeli media reported that 31 tunnels have already been demolished, and that the mission was close to being complete.

Netanyahu said that "Hamas needs to understand that it will pay an intolerable price" for continuing to fire rockets, but indicated the military will enter a new phase of the operation after the tunnels are demolished.

"After completing the operation against the tunnels, the military will prepare for our continuing action according to our security needs and only according to our security needs, until we obtain the objective of returning security to you the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu said.

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1. omahahusker
Modesto, CA,
Aug. 2, 2014

There will be no peace in Gaza until Hamas is destroyed. The PLO should recognize Gaza is no place for the Palistinian People and relocate them to the country of Jordon. All the millions of US taxpayer dollars given to the PLO, and all they do is build tunnels and by rockets from Iran. How foolish of the American State Department and the American People.

2. JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC,
Aug. 3, 2014

"Gaza is no place for the Palistinian People and relocate them to the country of Jordon"

So says logic and common sense.

However, we have staunch religious beliefs here (on both sides)

These religious beliefs trump logic and common sense every time.

Otherwise, smart people would not choose to fight for generations rather than to find a compromise.

The US should get out of the way (and stop sending money and weapons) until these guys get sick of fighting and truly want to work something out.

Unfortunately, the US has "religious" connections to this thing also, which prevents us from making logical and reasonable decisions.

3. no fit in SG
St.George, UT,
Aug. 3, 2014

Or what?

4. wrz
Phoenix, AZ,
Aug. 3, 2014

@JoeBlow:
"However, we have staunch religious beliefs here (on both sides)."

Israel's religion is relatively benign. They can live peaceable with almost anyone. Not so with the Muslim religion of which Hamas and all of Gaza are a part. Their announced goal is to kill all the Jews. There's the root of the Palestinian problem.

"Otherwise, smart people would not choose to fight for generations rather than to find a compromise."

It's tough to determine why they keep at each others throats though the centuries.

"The US should get out of the way (and stop sending money and weapons) until these guys get sick of fighting and truly want to work something out."

In which case Israel would be goners.

"Unfortunately, the US has 'religious' connections to this thing also, which prevents us from making logical and reasonable decisions."

Mostly true. America was founded on Judo/Christian beliefs. Thus, we are partial to Israel in the battles in the Mid-East.