Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday threatened to inflict “very strong blows” on Hamas after fresh violence along the border with the Gaza Strip controlled by the Islamist group.
“Hamas has apparently not understood the message — if these attacks do not stop, they will be stopped in another way, in the form of very, very strong blows”, Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting.
Seven Palestinians were killed in clashes along the Gaza border on Friday and Israel suspended fuel deliveries, having accused Hamas of using demonstrations as cover for attacks against the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, Israel government Sunday approved the construction of 31 settler homes in Hebron, the first such green light for the flashpoint West Bank city since 2002, a cabinet minister said.
Construction permits were agreed in October last year but needed the government’s approval, according to the Peace Now NGO which monitors settlement construction in occupied territory.
“For the first time in more than 20 years, Hebron will have a new Jewish neighbourhood where a military camp once stood,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said after the weekly cabinet meeting.
He said in a statement that the project will comprise 31 settler homes and two kindergartens.
“It is an important step in the global activity which we are carrying out to reinforce settlements in Judea and Samaria,” added Lieberman referring to the occupied West Bank.
Hebron is holy to both Muslims and Jews, with Old Testament figures including Abraham believed to be buried there.
The city is a flashpoint reflecting the deep tensions that run between Palestinians and Israelis.
Hebron is home to around 200,000 Palestinians, with about 800 settlers living under Israeli army protection in several heavily fortified compounds in the heart of the city.— AFP