Israel defense minister strongly hints Gaza war ahead

“In the last months we made every effort, we’ve overturned every stone,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, suggesting Israel had no choice but to attack Hamas.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested that Israel has no choice but to strike Hamas forces in Gaza in an interview Sunday with Ynet news.

“Before going to war, we need to exhaust all other possibilities, because when we’re sending soldiers to battle we know that some of them aren’t returning home. We’re obligated to exhaust every other way, every other option,” Lieberman said.

“Upon entering the Defense Ministry I said — Israel has no right, no option, no luxury to conduct wars of choice. We can conduct only wars of no choice. In the last months we made every effort, we’ve overturned every stone and at this point ‘no choice’ is behind us.”

“We have arrived at the point where we have to land as strong as possible a blow on Hamas,” Lieberman said, adding that ultimately the decision to strike Hamas will be up to the Cabinet.

The defense minister noted that the Gaza riots pose a serious danger. “Hamas has turned violence on the border into a strategic weapon and by doing so they hope to erode our steadfastness, to erode our deterrence … They want to put pressure on the Israeli public and on the government of Israel,” he said.

On Saturday evening, Lieberman announced Israel would close off fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip after 20 Palestinians broke through the border into Israel.

“As long as the violence in the Gaza Strip does not stop completely, including the sending of incendiary balloons and burning tires toward Israeli towns, fuel and gas supplies to the Gaza Strip will not be replenished,” Lieberman tweeted Saturday.

Since March 30, Hamas, the terrorist organization which controls the Gaza Strip, has waged a violent campaign of mass riots on Israel’s border, in which Palestinians burn tires, throw stones and plant explosive devices. Palestinians have also infiltrated into Israeli territory and launched fire kites and balloon bombs in a new form of “arson terror.”

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from the start of the campaign until mid-September, “800 such kites and helium balloons have been launched (over 600 of them intercepted), causing over 450 fires.  To date, more than 2,600 hectares of agricultural fields and forests (6,424 acres) have been damaged by the fires. The loss to the farmers is estimated at 7-8 million shekels (about $2 million).”