Israel’s Defense Minister called on Hamas to put down its weapons and reach a deal with Israel to release the captive Israeli soldiers and civilians in Gaza.

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday said Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are “marionettes” controlled by Iran.

In an interview for a government-run website, Lieberman called on Hamas to cease its terrorist activities and give back to Israel the bodies of the missing soldiers and civilians held in Gaza.

“It is time they stopped digging tunnels and making rockets,” Lieberman said, “and started thinking about a better future for the children of Gaza.”

He added that Israel will help rehabilitate the Gaza Strip if that happens. “The moment that Hamas stops committing terror attacks against Israel, we will immediately build at least two industrial zones in Erez and Kerem Shalom, which will create at least 60,000 new jobs,” Lieberman said.

Addressing the tense situation along the southern border, which followed US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Lieberman reiterated that “the status quo in the West Bank and on Temple Mount hasn’t changed.”