Egyptian Offical: Hamas to Blame for Gaza Destruction
Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Arabi said Thursday that Hamas was not serious about a cease-fire – and that the terror group was deliberately trying to embarrass Egypt. Speaking in an interview in an Egyptian newspaper, Al-Arabi blamed Hamas for not only failing to come to a cease-fire, but for “shedding the blood of innocent Palestinians” by continuing to attack Israel.
“Hamas does not want Egypt to fulfill its obligations as a negotiator between the two sides,” Al-Arabi said. “They do this at the cost of the blood of innocent Palestinians” who are caught up in the Israeli response to the rocket attacks. During the nine days of Operation Protective Edge, the IDF has caused a massive amount of damage in Gaza, destroying buildings that were used by terrorists to fire rockets at Israel. Despite Israel's efforts to avoid civilian casualties, some 200 people have been killed in Gaza so far, more than half of them Hamas terrorists.
Hamas on Monday rejected Egypt’s proposed ceasefire, as Arab foreign ministers in Cairo called on "all parties" to accept the proposal. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group would not accept a truce without a full-fledged deal to end hostilities, according to AFP. "A ceasefire without reaching an agreement is rejected. In times of war, you don't cease fire and then negotiate," he told the news agency.
Earlier Thursday, a Hamas official said that Israel would have to “pay a price” if it wanted a cease-fire. Mohammed Nazel said that Israel “has 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.”
Al-Arabi said that negotiations on Hamas' conditions could be conducted under Egyptian auspices after the rocket firing stop. “The main thing is to stop the fighting,” he said, adding that the lives of many Gaza Arabs was at stake.
Hamas terrorists launched a major attack on Israel's heartland Thursday morning, as Red Color alert sirens were sounded in communities throughout central Israel. Sirens were sounded in Tel Aviv and its suburbs, Raanana, Hadera, and in the Netanya area as well. Iron Dome batteries shot down several of the missiles, with others falling in open areas. No injuries have been reported.