Monday, April 21, 2014

Netanyahu To PA: When You Want Peace, Let Us Know. Violence Increases At Gaza

Netanyahu To Palestinians: When You Want Peace. Let Us Know

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian Authority on Monday, saying that its threat to dissolve and the ruling Fatah faction’s efforts to forge unity with Hamas indicate a lack of desire for peace.

“Today, we saw the Palestinian Authority speak of dismantling itself and also talking about unity with Hamas,” the premier told revelers at a Mimuna celebration in Or Akiva. “They should decide – either dissolve, or enter into a union with Hamas. When they want peace, they should let us know. Because we want a genuine peace.”

Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Monday denied that the Palestinian Authority has been considering dissolving itself if the peace talks with Israel fail.

Some officials were quoted over the past few days as saying that President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dismantle the PA in protest against the lack of progress in the negotiations.

The reported threat, which comes as the April 29 deadline for the end of the peace talks approaches, is seen as an attempt to exert pressure on the US and Israel to comply with Palestinian demands, especially regarding the release of prisoners.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority would constitute an “extreme step” that would “obviously have grave implications.”

“We, the United States, have put millions of dollars into this effort. It would obviously have very serious implications for our relationship, including our assistance going forward,” she warned at her daily press briefing in Washington.

“A great deal of effort has gone into building Palestinian institutions, by Palestinians, as well as by the international community,” she said. “It would certainly not be in the interest of the Palestinian people for all of that to be lost.”

Ten rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in southern Israel Monday, prompting Israeli retaliatory strikes on the Hamas-controlled territory.

Red alert sirens sounded Monday morning in Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, adjacent to the Palestinian enclave

Seven rockets fell in open areas in the Sha’ar Hanegev region and outside the city of Sderot, causing no injuries or damage. One rocket exploded in Sderot, causing damage to a road and several shops.

Another rocket struck the Eshkol region of southern Israel, but regional officials said the warning sirens did not go off.

The IDF dispatched two attack helicopters to the northern Gaza Strip to identify the source of the rocket fire and the choppers fired “warning shots” into the Strip.
Later on Monday, the Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, hitting targets in Khan Younis, Nasirat and Deir al-Balah. According to the IDF, Israeli aircraft struck two “terror activity sites” in the southern Gaza Strip and a third in the central Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire. The IDF said direct hits were confirmed.

According to the IDF, terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip have fired at least 108 rockets and mortars into Israel since the beginning of 2014.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner responded to the escalation of hostilities in southern Israel saying that it was the IDF’s “obligation to seek out and target those who wish to attack our civilians and soldiers and to eliminate their capabilities. Hamas rocket terrorism is an intolerable reality Israelis should not have to accept.”

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