Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) blasted on Monday the ceasefire offer by U.S. President Barack Obama, telling Arutz Sheva that the offer made it seem as though "the United States is working in the service of Hamas."
"Gaza is far from being demilitarized. Hamas still has all the tools to re-dig the tunnels and produce more rockets,” said Hotovely, who added, “This is one of the few military operations in recent years to win broad public support. Almost 90 percent of Israelis support the continuation of the operation and the completion of the work. National credit for the prime minister is equally as important as international credit.”
“We cannot accept an offer that comes to serve a terrorist organization,” she continued. “Hamas knows it can grow stronger through its cynical use of humanitarian crises. We should make clear that there is only one factor that is responsible for the reality in Gaza and that is the Hamas government, which was elected by the citizens. Not the State of Israel, not the IDF and not the IAF’s pilots. It is solely the fault of the public that elected a terrorist organization that uses it as a human shield.”
As such, said Hotovely, “This operation must continue until quite is restored and the objectives defined by the government are reached and we do not yet see that these objectives have been achieved.”
Asked about the reason for Washington’s pressure on Israel to reach a ceasefire, Hotovely said she believed there might be economic reasons for the pressure.
"Unfortunately, there may economic interests involved,” she said. “Qatar finances Hamas and there are economic relations between the U.S. and Qatar, but the bottom line is that the U.S. is wrong when it tries to force Israel into the ceasefire. The Prime Minister is right to say he will not accept this outline of a ceasefire. I congratulate our leadership as well as the IDF fighters who have restored the national honor after years. This military operation gives us the feeling that the IDF knows how to operate.”
Obama reportedly agreed to the idea of an unconditional ceasefire, to be followed by discussion of Hamas's demands for easing of sanctions on Gaza. However, Obama would not close the door on involvement by Qatar and Turkey in the negotiations, despite Israel's opposition.
Netanyahu's demand that Gaza be demilitarized was reportedly swept aside by Obama, who said that he saw such an arrangement as part of an overall peace deal to be reached between Israel and the Palestinians, and not as part of a ceasefire with Hamas.