Lieberman Tells Gaza: Overthrow Hamas to Become ‘Singapore of Middle East’

Israel's right-wing Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Israel’s Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has issued a video calling on Palestinians in Gaza to overthrow Hamas in order to turn “the refugee camps into the Singapore of the Middle East”.

The video, which was spoken in Hebrew with Arabic and English subtitles, was distributed by Israel’s Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) yesterday and circulated on its social media outlets.

The Minister of Defense in a direct message to the residents of the Gaza Strip:"You can choose between poverty and unemployment or work and livelihood, between hatred and bloodshed or coexistence and personal security. If your leadership is not ready for that, then replace the leadership.”

Gepostet von COGAT – Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories am Dienstag, 24. Juli 2018

Lieberman said in the video that

“My message to the people of Gaza is simple: you can choose between poverty and unemployment or work and making a livelihood, between hatred and bloodshed or coexistence and personal security.”

He added:

“We [Israel] can be your ideal partners in an effort to turn the refugee camps into the Singapore of the Middle East.”

Lieberman continued by saying:

“If your leadership is unwilling to do so, replace your leadership.”

The video also offered Gazans advice on how to begin overthrowing their leadership, referring to Hamas which has governed the besieged Strip since 2007.

The message will raise eyebrows in light of Israel’s ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip which has routinely deprived the enclave of access to water, power, medical supplies and medication. The Strip has also strangled the Gazan economy, with reports earlier this month showing that up to 80 percent of factories in the territory has shut down, leaving 300,000 Gazans unemployed.

The video also comes amid Israel’s closure of the  Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing. Situated on the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, the crossing is the only commercial route in and out of the territory and is a vital source of food, aid, and commercial goods. Last week, gas distribution companies in Gaza announced that the Strip had run out of cooking gas reserves following the closure of the crossing.

Head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, Jamal Al-Khodari, yesterday said the move was causing “the gradual collapse of the industrial and commercial sectors in the Strip.” The reopening of the crossing has been tied to the maintenance of quiet in Gaza after an escalation in tensions over the weekend.

Last week, Lieberman was quoted by Israeli media as saying:

“Hamas is forcing us into a situation where we will have no choice but to embark on a large and painful military operation.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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