A senior Israeli minister has threatened that Tel Aviv will "liquidate" Hamas sooner or later, adding that Israel may even launch a new offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s Finance minister Yuval Steinitz said Tel Aviv has not set a timetable for when it will eliminate the Palestinian movement, but he underscored that it would happen sooner or later.
He said Israel cannot tolerate the movement becoming stronger. Steinitz did not rule out the possibility of a new invasion of Gaza, saying Tel Aviv had no choice, but to take such action.
Israel launched a 22-day war on the coastal strip in December 2008. Over one-thousand-four-hundred Palestinians were killed in the offensive — most of them civilians.
The war also left thousands of Palestinians homeless as entire neighborhoods were flattened by Israeli forces.
Steinitz has also slammed the pressure from the US and the international community on Israel to alleviate the Gaza siege.
"American pressure isn’t conductive and isn’t fair, because the Netanyahu government made two enormous gestures toward the Palestinians: The opportunity to improve the Palestinian economy, and the settlement freeze," Haaretz quoted the Israeli minister as saying on Sunday.
"The US needs to understand that the atmosphere it created in the Middle East, makes Washington now less friendly to Israel, and isn’t making the Palestinians more willing to compromise; it further adds to their rejection of the peace process," he added.
The Israeli minister’s claims about Israel’s settlement freeze comes as Tel Aviv announced plans to build 1,600 more settlement units in east Jerusalem (Al-Quds), which was occupied by Israel in 1967, a move considered illegal under the international law.