More Gaza violence 'inevitable', says Israeli defence minister

More Gaza violence 'inevitable', says Israeli defence minister
Israel's defence minister said the next confrontation with Gaza is not a question of if, but when, in comments made amid international efforts to reach a long-term truce.
3 min read
13 August, 2018
More than 2 million Palestinians live in the blockaded enclave [Getty]

Another round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday, despite continued international efforts to reach a long-term truce.

Lieberman said in a video statement distributed by his office that "the question is not to know if the next confrontation (with Hamas) will take place, but when".

Lieberman also appeared to suggest that all Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since protests and clashes along the border began on 30 March were linked to Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the enclave.

"Hamas has suffered 168 dead, 4,348 wounded and dozens of terror infrastructures destroyed," he said.

The comments followed remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who demanded a "total" ceasefire from Gaza's Hamas rulers in his first public comments on another flare-up between the two sides.

"We are in the midst of a campaign against terror in Gaza," Netanyahu said at the start of a Cabinet meeting.

"It will not end with one blow. Our demand is clear: a total ceasefire. We shall not be satisfied with less than that," he added.

"Until now we have destroyed hundreds of Hamas military targets and with every round of attacks the [Israeli army] exact another heavy price from Hamas."


On Thursday, Hamas' al-Aqsa TV channel reported an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal had taken hold "on the basis of mutual calm". It was the third such truce in recent weeks.

But the deal did not seem to address the deeper issues that have prevented Israel and Hamas from reaching a longer cease-fire arrangement.

It will not end with one blow. Our demand is clear: a total ceasefire. We shall not be satisfied with less than that.

More than 130 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli bullets during protests on Friday, despite the informal truce ending a deadly flare-up between Gaza's ruling party Hamas and the Israeli army largely holding. A third died of his wounds on Saturday.

Later it was revealed that 307 Palestinians were wounded at the protests, including two journalists and five medics, the health ministry in the coastal enclave said. At least 131 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli bullets.

Earlier in the week, fighters in Gaza fired over 200 rockets at Israel with the Israeli military carrying out a similar number of airstrikes in Gaza in the latest round of violence.

Most of the rockets fired by Palestinian fighters landed in open areas, but at least two hit the Israeli town of Sderot and four people were wounded.

Three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter, while seven Israelis were wounded by Palestinian rocket fire as hundreds took refuge in shelters.

It was one of the most serious escalations since the 2014 Gaza War and followed months of rising tensions.

Over 2 million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, which is experiencing deep economic hardship. Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, keep tight restrictions on their land crossings with Gaza that have reduced its economy to a state of collapse.

UN and Egyptian-led efforts are underway to mediate a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, who have fought three wars since 2008. The bid is also meant to tackle humanitarian issues in Gaza and improve its economy.