Any cease-fire deal with Hamas must include the return of the two Israeli captives and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by the terrorist group ruling the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday.
Lieberman, who spoke with reporters after observing a military drill in the Golan Heights, said that since the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire efforts have gone into high gear, “there has been a dramatic decrease in security incidents on the border.”
Monday saw IDF fire kill a Palestinian terrorist in a border incident.
According to available details, Israeli troops came under terrorists’ fire while patrolling the security fence. In response, an IDF tank fired a shell at the source of fire, killing one terrorist.
No Israeli casualties were reported in the incident.
Commenting on the incident, Lieberman said, “From what we know, this was an isolated incident by a man who was not affiliated with any Palestinian terrorist group. We cannot prevent lone-wolf terrorism completely.
”What we are doing [with respect to Gaza] and what is really important is to create a direct link between security calm and economic incentives,” he explained.
”We have to think about things, say, 12 years down the line, and ask [ourselves] what we would like to see. They [the Palestinians] have to understand that economic stability is tied to calm on the border.
”I’ve been hearing countless reports about the potential deal with Hamas and I say again – yes, we are talking with the Egyptians, the U.N. and international envoys, but as far as I’m concerned there is only one type of agreement – reality on the ground. We are acting unilaterally and it looks like that’s the way it will continue to be.” Lieberman said.
The defense minister was also asked about a riot that broke out during the funeral of Ahmed Mohammed Hamid, an Israeli Arab killed over the weekend during the attempted stabbing of an Israeli police officer near the Temple Mount.
The Israel Police said Tuesday they would launch an investigation into the events in Hamid’s funeral, which was attended by 1,000 people, despite police directives to the family to limit the number of participants to 50.
The night-time funeral in Umm al-Fahm, in northern Israel, turned into a riot, with participants chanting, “In blood and spirit we will redeem you, shahid [martyred],” setting off fireworks and firing in the air.
”It is very troubling to see Israeli citizens who enjoy freedoms and economic prosperity riot like that. To see over 1,000 people honor a terrorist … this simply attests to the fact that these people do not belong in Israeli society and that their Israeli citizenship is accidental,” Lieberman said.
”At least I, for one, have never hidden my opinion – there’s no reason for Umm al-Fahm to continue being part of the State of Israel. It should belong to Palestine and I’m sure the will enjoy the same liberties and economic prosperity under Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], where they will have the benefits of the best Palestinian democracy has to offer.”
Also on Monday, the “Qassam generation” protest movement, which represents those born in Gaza-vicinity communities over the past 18 years of near-constant rocket fire from Gaza, issued a statement saying: “It was again proven that the security of Gaza-border residents depends on the whims of terrorists.
”The government’s irresponsibility invites terror. While the government debates an agreement with the leaders of Hamas, terrorists on the ground in Gaza continue to shoot at Israel.
”We cannot continue living like this; the residents of the Negev also deserve security and normal lives. Our protest will go on until the Israeli government understands it has to provide security to its citizens – even if they live next to the border with Hamas,” the statement said.