Go to contents

Israel, Hamas Blame Each Other for Fresh Violence

Posted December. 29, 2008 04:35,   


“The strike was a measure to protect Israel from Hamas’ rocket barrage,” versus “Israel massacred people without ending its blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

Israel and Hamas held a war of words over who instigated Saturday’s Israeli air attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, “Our goal is to fundamentally improve the security situation in Israel,” blaming continued rocket fire by Hamas for triggering the Israeli air strikes.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said, “If Israel wanted to hold peace talks, it should have ended its blockade first and open its national border.”

Conflict between Israel and Hamas intensified after Israel blockaded the Gaza Strip in the wake of Hamas’ seizure of the disputed territory. Gaza residents suffered severe shortages of daily necessities.

The two sides had signed a peace treaty under Egyptian arbitration in June, but Israel did not end the blockade.

Early last month, Israel sought to storm Gaza, sparking a clash, and Hamas responded with a rocket barrage. After the six month armistice ended Dec. 18, Hamas rejected an extension and stepped up its offensive against Israel.

Foreign media also said the complicated political situation in Israel is another reason for the Israeli air strikes.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who was elected chairman of the Kadima Party in September, is considered part of the dovish faction. Since his party failed to form a coalition government, however, Israel will hold general elections Feb. 10.

Livni changed his stance after polls showed the hard-line Likud Party led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was leading in the polls.

Time magazine said on its online version Livni is catching up in polls to Netanyahu after announcing a hard-line stance against Hamas.