Life in Gaza will not go back to normal if attacks on Israel do not come to a full halt, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday morning at the Kerem Shalom border crossing following several waves of Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in the Strip over the weekend in retaliation for the death of a soldier shot dead by sniper fire on Friday.
“ I just completed a situation assessment regarding the transfer of goods (to Gaza)“ Lieberman said. “The residents of Gaza must understand that as long as there are incendiary balloons on our side and fires, their life will not return to normal.”
Addressing Gaza residents, the defense minister also said that if the ceasefire continues to hold, the IDF will reopen the Kerem Shalom border to goods and commodities on Tuesday.
“Yesterday we saw the calmest day, perhaps since March 30. Therefore, my message to the residents of Gaza is responsibility. The key is the pressure that you, the residents of Gaza, will exert on the Hamas leadership. If today and tomorrow the situation will continue as it was yesterday, then on Tuesday we will return life to the usual pattern, and the fishing space will be returned to the same distances as before. But the key is quiet, calm, zero firebombs, zero friction on the fence and zero rockets or, God forbid, shooting. I hope we have two calm days” he said.
Lieberman noted that the number of trucks passing into Gaza every day had dropped to around 140 per day from over a 1,000 a day as a result of the recent violence. “Let the other side make their calculations,” the defense minister said.
When asked if Israel is taking any steps to help the residents of Gaza, Lieberman answered: “Despite the complex situation and despite the arson attacks, we continue to transfer food and medicine. We can not do more, and as I said regarding exports of goods (this will be possible) only if there is completely quiet on our side, no balloons, no kites and no provocations.”
Written by Mara Vigevani / TPS • Photo by Hillel Maeir / TPS