Arab World · Middle East · News · United States

War on Gaza is Possible, Israeli officials say

Israel has threatened to escalate its deadly air and ground attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli blockade for the past five years.

On Monday, Israeli officials said that they were mulling over various options to punish the Palestinians of the territory and had not ruled out the possibility of launching a new war on Gaza.

“These are very important days… in light of the ongoing activity against Hamas and… organizations in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand,” Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Ehud Barak said.

According to Barak, “Hamas is responsible for the shooting at Israeli communities and attempts to harm Israeli soldiers. Under my guidance, the IDF (Israeli military) is currently examining all possibilities in the event of further Hamas violations.”

He added that Israel’s “upcoming elections will not be a source of immunity for Hamas and… if we have to reenter Gaza to strike at Hamas, we will not hesitate to do so.”

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told foreign diplomats touring southern Israel, “We shall not sit with our arms folded in the face of repeated, almost daily, attacks on our citizens… We shall act to stop it.”

Meanwhile, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip met earlier in the day and said they were ready for a ceasefire if Tel Aviv “stops its aggression” against the besieged territory.

“The Islamic and nationalist movements confirm that the response of the resistance depends on whether the Zionist aggression against our people is continued,” they said in a statement read out during a press conference in Gaza City.

Israeli airstrikes, shelling, and artillery fire have left six Palestinians dead and over 40 others injured since Saturday. Some of the injured are in critical condition.

The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.

GJH/HGL via Press TV

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