The Israeli government is trying to reach a ceasefire that will put an end to months of fighting that have brought both sides to the brink of war. However, the Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, said he does not believe that an agreement can be reached with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas.
“I am not engaged in the agreement, I do not believe in the agreement and the only agreement is the reality on the ground,” Lieberman said during a visit to Kibbutz Kisufim, a neighbor of the Gaza Strip, where he met with local leaders.
The statements come in the face of the violent weekly demonstrations that the Palestinians of Gaza hold on the border with Israel on Friday afternoons.
“Over the past few days, we have seen that Hamas has total control over what is happening here,” he said.
“I’m trying to establish a balance between calm in security and economics. If there is terrorism, there will be no economy. If there is no terrorism, there will be an economy,” the minister said.
“There has to be a direct correlation. That’s the important message we’re trying to get across to the people of Gaza, to the average citizen who is worried about making a living and thinking about how to support their family.
“Therefore, if there is calm this Friday, the border crossing (at Kerem Shalom) will remain open. If there is no calm, it will close.
Lieberman noted that in recent days, hundreds, if not thousands, of trucks have passed through the Kerem Shalom border crossing every day since it was reopened “because there was absolute calm.
Anyone who tries to disrupt the prevailing tranquility, he stressed, must understand that he or she will only drive back to the closure of the border crossing.
However, the Minister of Defense again insisted that there was little point in holding talks with Hamas.
“The fundamental objective of the Hamas terrorist organization is the destruction of the State of Israel, and that’s why I don’t think we have anything to talk about with Hamas,” Lieberman said.
“We are in talks about this via Egypt and via third parties and Hamas understands that. There will be no progress and no new arrangements beyond the border crossings and fishing areas until a solution is reached on the issue of the soldiers and the captive civilians,” Lieberman said, referring to two fallen Israeli soldiers whose bodies are in Hamas hands and two civilians also held in the Strip.
“We must make Hamas understand that if they want to make progress in any area, the first thing they need to realize is that our missing soldiers and civilian must be returned.