Liberman Rejects Hamas Demands: 'Terror Must Not Pay'
As Israeli negotiators arrived in Cairo early Monday afternoon a 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas began the night before, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) stated that Israel must not allow Hamas's terror on Israel to pay off for the Gaza-based organization.
Speaking to Yedioth Aharonoth, Liberman declared "we must not blink, we must not allow even the smallest appearance that it pays to fight against Israel."
"It cannot be that the result of the clash between Israel and Hamas, which began with the abduction and murder of the three youths and continued in a confrontation in Gaza, will end with Hamas leaving with a feeling that terror pays," clarified the foreign minister.
Noting the numerous lethal Hamas breaches of ceasefires, Liberman stated that if the terror organization "receives its demands, and even if there is just an impression (that it has) among its leaders or the Palestinian public, all the terror organizations surrounding us will understand that terror pays, and we will pay dearly for it. We must not allow that."
During the operation, Hamas terrorists captured the bodies of Second Lt. Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul. Regarding this, Liberman said "we must not finish the operation without the bodies of our soldiers being returned."
"It's unthinkable that all Hamas members, including 20,000 of the terrorists in Hamas's military wing, will receive their salaries in an orderly fashion, through the Palestinian Authority or any other way, while the bodies of IDF soldiers still have not received a proper burial in Israel," added the minister.
Reports revealed that two months' salary was paid in full to Hamas's Al-Qassam Brigades on Sunday morning, with the money that seemingly appeared out of nowhere likely having come from Saudi and UAE donors.
Liberman also clarified his opposition to the release of any terrorists as part of truce talks in Egypt, saying "such steps at the current juncture would provide a tail wind and prize for terror."
"No seaport until Hamas is gone"
Regarding Hamas demands, which aside from freeing terrorists have included calls to open the Rafah crossing to Sinai, and build a Gaza airport and sea port, Liberman said "as long as Hamas rules there, there's no chance we'll agree even to discuss opening a sea port or an airport in Gaza. As far as I'm concerned that's not even open for debate."
The granting of a sea port is considered a grave security risk, as it would allow weapons to freely enter the Hamas stronghold of Gaza, and its construction would be a major political victory for Hamas. Turkey and Norway are reportedly behind the Hamas sea port initiative.
Aside from the Hamas demands, Liberman clarified that "even the reconstruction of Gaza can only be in parallel to the establishment of an effective inspection and supervision mechanism of the money and building materials entering there, so that they truly serve only to improve the lives of citizens of Gaza, and don't again serve terror against Israeli citizens."
Regarding supervision, Liberman said in an interview with a German newspaper last Thursday that "Germany and the EU must dispatch inspectors to Gaza to monitor the Palestinians' trade with the neighboring countries," suggesting that the Europeans and not the IDF monitor Gaza.
Liberman made another surprising statement last Monday, when he suggested that Gaza be turned over to UN control.
It should be noted that a clinic of the UN's UNRWA in Gaza reportedly was booby-trapped, causing the death of three IDF soldiers during the opeartion. Rockets were also found in at least three UNRWA schools, with the lethal missiles being turned over to the Hamas terror group.