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Hamas: Israel 'Must Pay a Price for Cease-Fire'

Hamas, refusing to back down even as Israel smashes its Gaza infrastructure, is demanding a series of concessions from Israel.
By Moshe Cohen
First Publish: 7/17/2014, 8:05 AM

Israel's Iron Dome in action
Israel's Iron Dome in action
Flash 90

If Israel wants a cease-fire, Israel is going to have to pay a price, said a Hamas official Thursday. Mohammed Nazel, a member of Hamas' political wing, said that the terror group would not accept the cease-fire proposed by Egypt or anyone else unless substantial changes were made in the agreement.

“Israeli must pay a price,” Nazel said. “First they have to promise, with international guarantees, that they will stop attacking Gaza. Second, they have to open up all the passages between Gaza and the rest of the world. In addition they have to allow free movement in Gaza.”

Formerly, as many as 100,000 Gaza Arabs had worked in Israel, but after the second intifada access to Israel was eventually closed off, due to the large number of suicide bombers and terrorists carrying out attacks in Israel coming from Gaza. Several years ago, Egypt closed off the Rafiach crossing to Gaza, opening it only sporadically, also in response to Hamas terror activities. In response, the terror group built a network of underground tunnels to Sinai, through which it smuggled weapons and parts for the rockets it fires at Israel, and to Israel, through which it could smuggle terrorists to carry out attacks.

Israeli officials have said publicly that their objective in Operation Protective Edge is to restore quiet to Israeli cities. But government sources quoted in the media over recent days said that Israel also had demands for implementing a cease-fire, specifically international supervision of the dismantling of Hamas' rocket and missile supply.

On Wednesday night, the UN called for a “humanitarian cease-fire” that would last for six hours, to enable Gaza residents to stock up on supplies. Israel agreed, but Hamas on Thursday morning continued its attacks on Israel, firing a round of rockets at Beersheva. The Iron Dome system knocked out four of the missiles.

Shortly before 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning sirens were heard in the Eshkol region, Hof Ashkelon region, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi. Sirens were also heard in the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, near Jerusalem. Three rockets exploded in open regions in the region, causing no physical injuries or damages. Several rockets from Gaza exploded in open areas in the Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol regions, causing no physical injuries or damages.

The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted one rocket over Kiryat Gat and one rocket over Kiryat Malachi. A third rocket exploded in an open region in Kiryat Malachi.