Netanyahu Threatens Hamas Over Gaza Violence: Israel Is Close to a ‘Very Painful’ Response

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas on Sunday, saying that if the attacks from Gaza against Israel won’t stop, Israel will launch a "different" kind of response.

"Hamas apparently didn’t get the message," Netanyahu said during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting. "If they don’t stop the attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful – very painful. We are very close to a different kind of activity, an activity that will include very powerful blows. If it has sense, Hamas will stop firing and stop these violent disturbances, now.

Also during the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called on a leading rabbi council, the Council of Torah Sages, to approve a new army draft law. "The draft law should pass and it’s time to put it behind us for everyone’s sake," Netanyahu said.

On Friday, seven Palestinians were reportedly killed by Israeli army fire as some 15,000 protesters demonstrated along the border.

Following the violence, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered a halt to fuel deliveries to Gaza through Israel, saying "Israeli will not tolerate a situation in which fuel tankers are allowed to enter Gaza on the one hand, while terror and violence are used against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens on the other." 

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On Friday, a number of truckloads of diesel fuel funded by Qatar entered Gaza via Israel.

On Saturday, Haaretz reported that senior Israeli security officials oppose Lieberman’s order. The senior officials believe Israel must differentiate between the fuel it transfers to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip and the fuel donated by Qatar.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the security cabinet, said told Israel Radio earlier Sunday that "it’s unreasonable that we find civilian solutions and in response Hamas will continue to encourage terrorism on the [border] fence, so it’s clear that you are in a process of deterioration at the end of which there will not be a choice."