Liber­man: Ha­mas are can­ni­bals

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By ANNA AHRONHEIM

Ha­mas is a “bunch of can­ni­bals” who use their women and chil­dren as weapons, De­fense Min­is­ter Avig­dor Liber­man said on Wed­nes­day, af­ter ri­ots on the Gaza bor­der left dozens of Pales­tini­ans dead.

Ha­mas claims that 62 Gazans died on Mon­day.

“The Ha­mas lead­er­ship is a bunch of can­ni­bals that treats their chil­dren as weapons. They have rock­ets, sidearms and a dif­fer­ent kind of weapon – women and chil­dren,” he dur­ing a visit to the IDF’s Gaza Divi­sion.

“Their goal is to lift Gaza’s block­ade but not to build their econ­omy or hold talks about co­ex­is­tence, but rather to smug­gle weapons [into the Strip] to con­tinue to build up their mil­i­tary force and to cre­ate a Hezbol­lah model plus.”

The vi­o­lence on Mon­day was con­demned by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, with Turkey and South Africa re­call­ing their am­bas­sadors and the United States block­ing a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil state­ment call­ing for an in­de­pen­dent probe.

On Tues­day, the IDF said that at least 24 of the fa­tal­i­ties were mem­bers of Ha­mas or Is­lamic Ji­had, and on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon se­nior Ha­mas of­fi­cial Salah al-Bar­dawil told Pales­tinian ra­dio that “in the last round of con­fronta­tions, 62 peo­ple were mar­tyred; 50 of them were Ha­mas.”

“I sug­gest to ev­ery­one just to think about what would have hap­pened if they had suc­ceeded in breaking into one of the set­tle­ments. We saw what hap­pened at Kerem Shalom, on the Pales­tinian side. They reached Kerem Shalom, and de­stroyed the gas pipe­line [bring­ing fuel into Gaza],” Liber­man said.

Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, for­mer com­man­der of Bri­tish forces in Afghanistan, told The Jerusalem Post that Ha­mas is re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery Pales­tinian death dur­ing the ri­ots.

“Ha­mas has or­ches­trated the vi­o­lence and or­ches­trated with the de­lib­er­ate in­tent of try­ing to force the IDF to use lethal force against their peo­ple so that their own peo­ple get killed,” Kemp said Tues­day, speak­ing on the bor­der with the Gaza Strip.

Send­ing women and chil­dren to the bor­der fence is “dis­gust­ing,” Kemp said, adding that “very few peo­ple would un­der­stand why this is hap­pen­ing and would un­der­stand why re­spon­si­ble adults would get their chil­dren to get into com­bat zones, or their women or non­com­bat­ant men. It is de­lib­er­ately putting peo­ple in dan­ger and it is shame­ful and dis­grace­ful, and it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity when it goes very badly wrong like it did.”

While Mon­day was the blood­i­est day in Gaza since Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge in 2014, Tues­day saw a marked de­crease in vi­o­lence, with only 4,000 Pales­tini­ans tak­ing part in the demon­stra­tions rather than the 40,000 who par­tic­i­pated the day ear­lier.

Ac­cord­ing to Kemp, the vi­o­lence and the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties likely served as a de­ter­rent to Pales­tini­ans to par­tic­i­pate in the protests on Tues­day.

But Liber­man warned that de­spite the cur­rent rel­a­tive calm along the bor­der, “there are no il­lu­sions here, they did not give up all the dis­tur­bances and ter­ror­ism.

“But they got a se­ri­ous blow and that’s what caused them, for the mo­ment, to go back into their ken­nel,” he said.

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