Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned Hamas Sunday to “assume twice” before doubtlessly restarting violence after the 2 sides got here to a cease-fire this week that ended 11 days of violence.
Israel, late final week, introduced that it had come to a cease-fire settlement with Hamas that put an finish to 11 days of combating by which Hamas fired 1000’s of rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian targets, to which Israel responded with bruising airstrikes.
“Ultimately, within the operation we gave Hamas a heavy blow,” Regev, who’s Netanyahu’s chief spokesperson to worldwide media, stated. “We dismantled a big a part of their terrorist-military machine. We took out a part of their management. We hit their command and management. Hopefully they are going to assume twice even thrice before they strike at Israel once more.”
The combating resulted in additional than 200 deaths, primarily in Gaza.
Regev additionally expressed some hope for lasting peace, referencing “over a half a decade of relative peace and quiet” after a earlier spherical of combating.
“That is feasible and I hope we are able to try this once more,” he stated.
When requested whether or not the Israeli response was “proportionate,” to Hamas provocation, given the truth that many extra Gaza civilians died in the course of the combating than Israelis, Regev accused Hamas of utilizing civilians as “human shields.”
“They have been firing 1000’s of rockets on our civilian inhabitants. They have been making an attempt to homicide our folks of their properties. We have been defending ourselves,” Regev stated. “They have been firing out of colleges. They have been firing out of built-up areas. They have been firing out of properties, out of mosques, even out of playgrounds.”
Regev added: “We tried… to hit the terrorists and to not see harmless folks caught up within the crossfire. And whereas our objective was to keep away from civilian casualties, Hamas had truly the precise reverse objective… They have been brutally abusing Gaza civilians as a human protect for his or her struggle machine. We know for a indisputable fact that lots of the casualties on this operation have been brought on by Hamas munitions. Almost 20% of their rockets fell brief, touchdown in Gaza, killing Gaza civilians.”
The violence additionally introduced the primary main check of the connection between President Biden’s new administration and Netanyahu, and created a tense political subject within the United States. The White House stated this week that it was working feverishly behind the scenes to dealer peace because the president concurrently reaffirmed the United States’ alliance with Israel and utilized strain on the longstanding ally to make progress to a cease-fire.
Biden additionally walked a skinny line balancing worldwide help for Israel whereas additionally making an attempt to not alienate pro-Palestinian members of his personal Democratic Party at house like Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. She notably confronted Biden on an airport tarmac in Detroit and pressured the president to cease blocking the U.N. Security Council cease-fire resolutions, and referred to as Netanyahu “Apartheid-in-chief” in a tweet accusing him of committing “struggle crimes.”
“The overwhelming majority of the American folks stand with Israel, help Israel, are favorable in direction of Israel,” Regev stated when requested to answer broadsides from Democrats like Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., each members of the left-wing “Squad” within the House.
Regev additionally stated a majority of Democrats and liberal Democrats help Israel, with out citing the supply of his polling information.
“Of course they wish to see peace. But Israel desires to see peace too. We’d like to have peace with our Palestinian neighbors,” Regev stated. “People want to grasp — Hamas is not only Israel’s enemy. Hamas is the enemy of everybody who desires to see peace and reconciliation in our a part of the world. They are a brutal jihadist terrorist group. No one should make excuses for them.”
Responding to criticism from pro-Israel Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., over an Israeli airstrike on a constructing that housed workplaces for the Associated Press, Regev stated that Hamas had an “elite scientific analysis unit” in the identical constructing and have been utilizing the journalists “as a human protect.” He additionally stated no civilians have been harm in that particular strike.
Part of Biden’s political tightrope walk included making public requires a cease-fire whereas having his administration block U.N. resolutions calling for a cease-fire, which might have been a significant rebuke of Israel.
It’s not clear how lengthy the cease-fire may maintain, with either side claiming victory and saying they are going to solely “maintain fireplace” so long as the opposite facet does. Israeli offensive and defensive capability are nonetheless in stable form. And Hamas is reportedly nonetheless boasting 1000’s of rockets in its now-battered Gaza arsenals.
Fox News’ Greg Palkot and Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.