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IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai

After a weekend in which the residents of southern Israel endured numerous rocket attacks from Gaza — including a strike in which a rocket struck a kindergarten building, a street and destroyed a number of vehicles in the city of Sderot — IDF Major-General Yoav Mordechai issued a grim, but compassionate warning to the Arab people living under the iron grip of Hamas.

In a statement in Arabic posted on social media, Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Terrorities (COGAT), pointed out, “Irresponsible terrorists are leading you to an escalation right before winter, when the hardships in Gaza increase.”


Mordechai went on to warn Gazans the weekend’s attacks were “extreme and unacceptable,” and that future attacks by terrorists aiming at Israel from Gaza would result in a “harsh and painful response” by the Israeli military.

“Do not test our strength,” he wrote.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and its allied Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group are both backed by Iran; both are dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, as is Iran. Hamas this week called for the launch of another intifada in the wake of the address by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, announcing the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Mordechai’s post on Facebook, translated to Hebrew as reported by Israeli media, shows the general has made it clear that Muslims have no reason to fear there might be changes in Jerusalem as a result of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announced recognition of Israel’s capital.

“The status quo in Jerusalem in general, and in Al Aqsa, in particular, is being preserved. Do not listen to the incitement and calls for violence by extremists,” he wrote. “It is important for me to make it clear beyond all doubt that despite the rumors and lies, there has been no change on the ground: Friday prayers are taking place as usual, the land crossings are open, and [Palestinian Authority citizens with workers’ permits] are entering Israel.

“Do not listen to the lies and distortions of those who claim this is a religious war,” he continued, warning that any violence would only hurt Arabs who pit themselves against IDF soldiers after “being incited by lies about a war of religions…

“I urge you, do not allow the extremists to ruin the Christmas holidays, the tourists who are traveling to you, or the calm without which positive, meaningful progress is likely to be suspended or lost altogether.”

Last week, President Trump underscored that he was only recognizing the reality that already exists, without defining any boundaries of Israeli sovereignty, and saying he remained hopeful and looking forward to final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.