Palestinian Arab factions are growing impatient waiting in Cairo but Israel says truce talks are over until the rocket fire stops.
After a weekend in which Gaza terrorists fire more than 100 rockets at Israel, representatives of the Palestinian Arab factions in Cairo say they will leave on Sunday, because Israel refuses to negotiate under fire.
At 12:44 pm Sunday afternoon, a Code Red alert was flashed to residents of the Kerem Shalom community and surrounds, giving them 15 seconds to find shelter. It was the seventh such attack since midnight.
“Operation Protective Edge continues,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated as he opened Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting at the offices of the defense ministry in Tel Aviv.
“We have not, at any point, said that it ended, and it will continue until it has achieved its goals. This will take time,” he said. “Israel will not conduct negotiations under fire and will work to change the reality to return security to its citizens.”
Because Hamas flatly refused to extend the cease fire, and Gaza terrorists began shelling southern Israeli communities four hours before the truce officially was set to end Friday morning, the Israeli delegation left Cairo. Representatives of the various Palestinian Arab factions – and those of Hamas as well, apparently – remained in Cairo, believing Egypt could persuade the Israelis to return.
But Jerusalem and Israel’s citizens have had enough of the incessant rocket attacks raining down upon civilian families, and no one is willing any longer to live their lives under fire. By Sunday morning, those factions were “threatening” to leave Cairo if the Israelis “don’t return to the table in the next 24 hours.”
The threat has moved no one in Israel, especially since Gaza terrorists had already fired six rocket attacks at Israeli civilians early Sunday morning.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said bluntly that he expected little, if anything, to result from such talks. “From the beginning I said that our goal should be to defeat Hamas… their minimal demands are beyond Israel’s maximal position. This situation cannot continue. If my recommendations had been accepted we would not be in this situation.”
Liberman’s view was supported by Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who agreed that Israel needs to “destroy Hamas’s military power in Gaza. It was true in the past, and it is true now, in order to allow residents of the south to return home.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed to silence the rocket fire – as he has in the past – addressing the growing outrage from southern residents who were told just three days ago that it was now “safe to go home.”
“If Hamas thinks it will exhaust us, it is wrong,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said. “We will not negotiate under fire. We entered talks in Cairo in good faith, and Hamas decided to renew its rocket fire on Israel.” The IDF responded with air strikes that destroyed a number of terrorist targets in Gaza.
“We will not compromise until rocket fire and terror completely stop,” Ya’alon promised. “We see the greater political and military picture, and we will not end the operation until quiet and security are returned to Israel’s citizens.”
Hana Levi Julian