In an explicit threat, cabinet minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday that the lives of Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar and other Hamas strongmen would be in danger if “Hamas continues to make mistakes.”
“The Hamas organization is facing a mounting crisis,” the construction and housing minister said at a Tel Aviv defense conference. “The paths of terror are becoming increasingly blocked and there is great difficulty in executing terrorist attacks.”
Referring to a network of attack tunnels dug by Hamas under the Gaza border, which the Israeli military has been systematically destroying, Gallant noted that “the tunnels are closing one by one.”
“Hamas is the angel of death to Gaza’s innocent civilian population,” he continued. “Hamas has taken 2 million people hostage.”
Gallant made the remarks a day after the deadliest day of clashes between Israel and Gaza since 2014. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 58 demonstrators were killed on Monday during violent border riots, including an 8-month-old baby who died after inhaling tear gas. More than 2,000 Gazans were injured in the riots, which erupted at several flashpoints.
Gallant’s threatening remarks may be indicative of deliberations within the cabinet over potentially restoring Israel’s policy of targeted assassinations.
Gallant went on to say that “Hamas is taking women and children and sending them to the front lines with the hopes that their blood will generate a provocation around the world.”
He addressed the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where water and electricity are in short supply, arguing that “an improved humanitarian reality in Gaza is a clear Israeli security interest.”
On the topic of Iran, Gallant said that “Israel now has an opportunity to root Iran out of Syria. It could take a month, or it could take a year, but a window of opportunity has opened and we will take advantage of it and push Iran back for many years to come.”
Reiterating Israel’s adamant refusal to allow Iran to establish a menacing military presence in neighboring Syria, Gallant declared that “we will not permit another front on the Golan Heights. We won’t allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria and we won’t allow anyone to turn Syria into a military base with game-changing weapons.”
Also Tuesday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan echoed Gallant’s threats, urging the Israeli government to reinstate targeted assassinations against Hamas operatives, asserting that doing so would be a “partial solution to the situation in Gaza.”
“It’s time for Hamas leaders to pay a personal price for organizing these terrorist activities,” Erdan said. “The heads of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar and others, who have declared that they are willing to die by the security fence, by all means, go right ahead.”
“We need to restore targeted assassinations,” he reiterated. “They need to go back to hiding underground and being afraid for their lives. They can’t be going around organizing the masses and mobilizing terrorists.”
Written by Israel Hayom.