Liberman: ‘We have nothing to talk about with Hamas‘

A long term ceasefire agreement with Hamas is not possible as long as it holds fast to its goal of destroying Israel, Defense on Friday morning during a visit to the Gaza border.

Hamas “is a terrorist organization whose sole objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. There I do not think we have anything to talk about with Hamas,” Liberman told reporters.

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“The only thing we are discussing with the help of the Egyptians and through the others, is that aside from issues relating to the crossing and the fishing areas, until the matter of the prisoners of war and the missing soldiers is resolved,” Liberman said.

Hamas must be made aware of this, Liberman added.

After that, he said, Hamas must also stop its military build up, including its rockets and work on the terror tunnels.

Hamas spends its money on arms and leaves the international community to care for its people by funding education, health and water treatment facilities, he said.

“This is unacceptable,” Liberman said, adding that Israel would do what was necessary to ensure the protection of its citizens.

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“All the rest can wait,” he said.

The Defense Minster explained that he himself was not part of the ceasefire talks.

“I don’t believe in the ceasefire. The only arrangement that exists is the reality on the ground. In the last few days we have seen that Hamas has absolute control over what happens in here [in Gaza],” Liberman said.

He dismissed the possibility that the protests by the border fence that have occurred under the auspices of the Great March of Return, were part of a popular citizen uprising.

Liberman charged that it was Hamas which organized that event, which began on March 30 and has continued until the middle of this week. It has involved violent border riots, infiltrations, stone and Molotov cocktail throwing as well as the launching of incendiary devices such as flaming kites and balloons.

“It’s a fact that the violence has gone down to almost zero in the last few days,” he said.

Liberman emphasized the importance of linking that kind of restored calm with the operation of Israel’s two Gaza crossings, one for goods at Kerem Shalom and the other for pedestrians at Erez.

Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing to commercial goods on July 10 and reopened it only on August 15th after a significant drop in Hamas violence against Israel.

On Sunday he closed the Erez crossing after Palestinian violence broke out along the Gaza border.

On Friday he warned Hamas and the Palestinian in Gaza that Kerem Shalom, Gaza’s main commercial crossing, would only remain open if the calm continued.

“When there is terror, there is no economy, and when there is no terror, then there will be an economy. There must be a direct link. This is an important message that we want to convey to the Gaza residents, to the average person in Gaza who is concerned about this livelihood and worries about how to feed his family,” Liberman said.

If Friday passes quietly, the Kerem Shalom crossing will remain open. But if there is no quiet, than the crossing will be closed,” Liberman said.

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