Ya'alon: We Don't Want an Escalation

Defense Minister warns Palestinians that they will face a harsh response from Israel if they escalate the situation.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Flash 90

If the Palestinians further escalate the security situation, Israel will respond harshly, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warned on Friday evening.

Speaking to Channel 2 News’ “Ulpan Shishi” program, Ya'alon said, “We do not want an escalation - but if they choose escalation we will respond accordingly.”

"We are not harming the status quo - the population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are gaining prominence, they benefit from our economy in Gaza as well due to the incoming trucks [of humanitarian aid and supplies],” he continued. “It is their leadership with whom we have tension and confrontation."

"We are in a wave of terror largely made up of throwing rocks and firebombs, due to the fact that since Operation Defensive Shield we hit the terrorist infrastructure in such a way that they cannot carry out other attacks, despite the incitement by Hamas and the Islamic Movement," said Ya’alon.

Ya’alon referred to the escalation of the violence into Gaza earlier Friday, when several Arab rioters were killed trying to infiltrate through the border fence.

"Hundreds of Palestinians came to the fence with the intent of breaking it, the troops fired back and this was the result,” he said. “Hamas is responsible for this incident - they know that this is an area that civilians are not allowed to enter, and yet they allowed the masses to go there. I hope that Hamas will not go for an escalation - we don’t want an escalation, but we are prepared to defend ourselves and I hope that Hamas remembers Operation Protective Edge.”

The Defense Minister also rejected the claims that the solution to the situation is a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

"You do not have to convince me that [PA chairman Mahmoud] Abbas and the PA are not a partner for an agreement with the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” he said. “We have traveled a long way in order to get society to understand that he is not a partner. Many are convinced, both in Israel and abroad.”

The minister stressed that "there will not be peace now, during the days of the peace talks there were deadlier attacks and we are smarter nowadays. I hope there will be no escalation."

Ya'alon concluded with a message to the terrorist organizations: "If the terrorist wave continues, they will pay a heavy price in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. They know it - what, Abbas became a Zionist that he stopped the incitement this week? He understood that it’s hurting him.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)