Hamas official Izzat Al-Rishq responds on Facebook to US President Barack Obama’s call for an immediate ceasefire and demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
“We say for the millionth time,” Al-Rishq writes. “Those who try to take our weapons, we will take their life.”
Netanyahu was robust in US TV interviews before Obama call
AP has a piece summing up Netanyahu’s US TV appearances Sunday, in which he said every Palestinian civilian’s death costs Israel in its fight for world opinion, but the Jewish state must not cede its security for the sake of public relations.
Netanyahu said Palestinians are trying to shape global opinion with images of piled-up, slain civilians.
“We’re telling the civilians to leave, Hamas is telling them to stay,” Netanyahu said in satellite interviews from Israel. “Why is it telling them to stay? Because it wants to pile up their own dead bodies.”
He added, “They not only want to kill our people, they want to sacrifice their own people.”
A Palestinian official countered that Israel’s actions are unjustified.
"The Israeli aggression on Gaza does not bring peace to Israel,” said Mohammad Shtayyeh, minister of the Palestinian Economic Council for Research and Development.
Netanyahu said his nation’s efforts to secure itself will not yield despite growing concern about deaths at the hands of Israeli forces. But that was before the Obama phone call.
“Hamas is a terror organization that is committed to our destruction,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu spoke to NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ”Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Shtayyeh and Netanyahu appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Apropos that Obama call, 87% of Israelis apparently disagree
A Channel 10 poll late Sunday showed 87 percent of the public would like Operation Protective Edge to continue, and 69 percent want Hamas to be toppled entirely.
Only seven percent say they want an immediate ceasefire, and six percent answer that they don’t know.
Day 21 of Hamas conflict begins after Obama demands ceasefire
We are now entering Day 21 of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s effort to stop Hamas’s rocket fire, demolish its cross-border tunnels and degrade its military infrastructure.
Late Sunday night, Israel time, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu and urges an immediate ceasefire.
He also condemned Hamas attacks and reaffirmed “Israel’s right to defend itself.”The president told the prime minister that any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza.”
The critical element of the conversation: He called for an “immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.”
It’s not immediately clear how that demand is being received. Israeli military officials have said they’ve found most of Hamas’s cross-border tunnels but need more time to demolish them and find others. And some ministers have been pushing for a much-expanded ground offensive.
Israeli government ministers who on Friday unanimously rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Gaza ceasefire proposal said a day later that the entire affair had clearly demonstrated either the incompetence or the anti-Israel bias of America’s top diplomat.“Kerry took the terms put forth by [Hamas leader Khaled] Mashal and then presented them as an American [ceasefire] proposal,” one Israeli government official was quoted as saying by Israel Hayom.
Kerry’s proposal apparently made no mention of the need to eliminate Hamas’ ability to militarily threaten the Jewish state.
As Ha’aretz correspondent Barak Ravid, one of Israel’s premier left-wing reporters, put it:
“The document recognized Hamas’ position in the Gaza Strip… [and it] placed Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if the first is not a primary US ally and as if the second isn’t a terror group which overtook part of the Palestinian Authority in a military coup and fired thousands of rockets at Israel.”
Ravid, like Israel’s government ministers, was forced to conclude that “if Kerry did anything…it was to thwart the possibility of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza. …the American secretary of state will be responsible for every additional drop of blood that is spilled.”
What really irked Israel was that an acceptable ceasefire had already been tabled by Egypt, and Kerry had initially backed that initiative and signaled that his proposal would be based on it.
What Kerry ultimately put forward after consulting with Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey was a complete departure from the Egyptian proposal and a “prize for terror,” according to Israeli officials.
When the Israeli cabinet met again on Saturday to discuss further action in Gaza, there were reportedly few kind words for Kerry. According to Channel 2, various ministers described the US secretary of state as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” what is happening on the ground, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”
As Israel draws ever closer to Arab neighbors who have a shared interest in seeing Hamas and similar groups defeated, the Obama Administration’s handling of the situation is likely to further drive a wedge between Jerusalem and Washington.
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