Netanyahu: Hamas to blame for Gaza violence

PM tells British counterpart Hamas and PA choking Gaza by cutting off funds and diverting humanitarian aid.

Gary Willig,

Netanyahu and May
Netanyahu and May
Chaim Tzach/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with his British counterpart, Theresa May.

At the beginning of the meeting, Netanyahu laid the blame for the recent violence at the Gaza border at the feet of the Hamas terrorist organization.

"As far as Gaza is concerned, I think the problems there are rooted in the fundamental goal of Hamas to destroy Israel. We’re not witnessing peaceful protests. In addition to burning our fields, these people are being paid for and pushed by Hamas to try to break into Israel’s defenses, kill as many Israelis as they can, right next to our border, and kidnap our soldiers," Netanyahu said.

"This is not a non-violent protest; quite the contrary. We are doing everything we can to both minimize casualties, and at the same time protect Israeli lives. I think you recognize this. It’s a new technique, it’s a tactic of terrorists who attack civilian targets and hide behind civilians, or in this case use civilians as human shields. I think we should condemn it, and discuss ways how we can prevent this.

"It’s also true that the reason Gaza is in an economic and humanitarian crisis is because: One, Hamas diverts an enormous amount of resources from civilian needs to terror tunnels and other weapons of war; and secondly, the other part of Palestinian society, the Palestinian Authority has cut back the money – a combination of choking Gaza financially from one Palestinian side and diverting resources for terrorism on the other side has created an economic crisis."

The prime minister said that he wanted the meeting to focus on the Iranian threat.

"Today I wish to focus on two issues, two goals that we share. The first is how to make sure that Iran does not have nuclear weapons. And the second is how to roll back Iran’s aggression in the region, and specifically in Syria. And I think we can find ways to work together to achieve both goals."

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that the British government was "concerned" about the loss of life on the Gaza border and that she considered the 2015 nuclear deal the 'best way forward' to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.