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Liberman: Palestinian Threats to End Ceasefire Are Blackmail

Hamas says there is no deal on continuing the ceasefire past Friday at 8:00 a.m.; Israel's patience over Turkish provocation wearing thin.
By Yedidya Ben Or, Shlomo Pitrikovsky
First Publish: 8/7/2014, 11:06 AM

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday and thanked him for the United States' unreserved support for Israel in the UN Security Council session Wednesday.

Liberman noted that the US's cooperation prevented the UNSC from adopting a binding anti-Israeli resolution.

Liberman also told Kerry that the announcement by the Palestinian negotiating team in Cairo, that it cannot commit to continuing the ceasefire, is an act of blackmail. Israel is taking this into account, he said, and is prepared for all possibilities.

Senior Hamas terrorist Ismail Radwan said Wednesday that no agreement has been reached regarding the extension of the 72-hour ceasefire that is to expire Friday morning.

"We will not let up, until the enemy agrees to the terms we have laid down,” he said, and threatened to renew the fire.

"Our demands have been relayed to the Egyptian side and it has relayed them to the Israeli side,” Radwan said. “Until this moment, no response has been received to these demands. The hand of the military wing and the Resistance is still on the trigger,” Radwan told an Egyptian TV station.

Observers estimated that Hamas has no intention of renewing the fire even after the truce ends, its bluster notwithstanding.

Egypt has reportedly told Hamas that demands like those for a sea port and airport are the sort of conditions placed on peace negotiations, not ceasefire negotiations.

A Palestinian source close to Hamas said that Hamas told Cairo that the Palestinian unity government will be placed in charge of the passages in and out of Gaza, as well as the sea and air ports.

Minister Liberman also related to a series of inflammatory comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he compared Israel to Nazi Germany, among other things.

He told Kerry that Israel is not interested in an escalation with Turkey, but warned its patience is wearing thin. 

“Until now we have refrained from reacting to Prime Minister Erdogan's tirades and harsh verbal attacks against Israel, and we hope that by the time elections are held in Turkey, next Sunday, the attacks will stop, but if this does not happen – Israel will respond.”