Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Israel would strike Gaza with “very powerful blows” if the Great March of Return protests were not brought to an end.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: “Hamas apparently has not understood the message: if it does not stop its attacks, they will stop in another way, in the form of painful blows, very painful.”
Israeli officials refer to the protests of the Great March of Return as violence carried out by Hamas on the eastern Gaza “borders” with the Israel.
“We are very close to another type of action that includes very hard shots. If Hamas is clever, it will cease fire and violence now,” Netanyahu said.
Prior to Netanyahu’s remarks, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that the time had come to deliver “the hardest blow” to Hamas should the “violence” on the “border” not stop, he said in reference to the protests being held by unarmed activists.
“We have turned every stone, and we have passed the point of no return… We have reached the stage where we must deliver the hardest blow imaginable on Hamas,” Lieberman said, according to Ynet News.
He added: “When you send soldiers into battle, you understand that some of them might not come home. So, we must exhaust every other possibility.”
“Hamas is determined to continue the violence until the blockade is fully lifted without reaching an agreement, especially regarding prisoner exchange, and without giving up on the main article in their charter—the destruction of the state of Israel.”