Israel is left with no choice but to unleash a military action against Hamas militants, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened. The bellicose tirade comes amid reports the IDF are amassing tanks along the Gaza border.
“Wars are only conducted when there is no choice, and now there is no choice,” Lieberman told the parliament. Apparently anything less than the “toughest response” to Hamas is not being considered as Tel Aviv had “exhausted the other options.”
Speculation about a potential offensive on Gaza has been swirling for several days, as the IDF stationed around 60 tanks and armored personnel carriers near the Palestinian border in what may be the largest military deployment since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
That’s after an exchange of fire last week, in which a rocket from Gaza hit the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, damaging a house, while another fell into the sea near Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Air Force retaliated, killing one Palestinian and injuring several others.
Lieberman pinned the blame for the escalation on Hamas, a Palestinian militant faction that rules Gaza. He claimed that there is no popular uprising in Gaza and that Palestinians taking part in large-scale protests are on Hamas’ pay.
Palestinians say they are protesting of their own free will to counter Israeli oppression. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed, including medics and journalists, and more than 22,000 injured since border protests – the Great March of Return – began in March.
Israel has also intensified demolition of Palestinian villages in the West Bank to make way for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements.