Head of the operation branch at the Israeli army, Branch Major General Yisrael Ziv, said on Wednesday that Israel will demilitarize Beit Hanoun area in the Gaza Strip if the resistance does not stop firing the homemade shells.

“The entire Beit Hanoun area will be demilitarized” Ziv said, “We will clear Qassam launchers, we will allow no movement, and we will monitor the whole area”.

An Israeli military source reported that Israel carried about 50 air strikes against 30 targets in the Gaza Strip, since Operation First Rain offensive was declared. One Islamic Jihad leader was assassinated and 354 residents were arrested.   

Ziv claimed that the army notified the Palestinian residents before carrying the operation, adding that it intends to use all of kinds of weapons and artillery before considering a ground attack.

“We are in the midst of a process of reshaping the rules of the Game”, Ziv said, “Operation First Rain is part of the process”.

Ziv described the shelling which is taking place in Gaza as a “message” to the Palestinians that the “rules of the game have changed”.

Also, Ziv added that the Palestinian Authority must decide to what he described as”controlling its fate, or remain a prisoner of Hamas”.

“We will respect the autonomy of the Palestinian Authority if its acts as a sovereign body”, Ziv said, “If the firing of homemade shells resume, we will change this policy”.

Ziv remarks came in contradiction of the Israeli military operations which did not respect the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority, and the invasions of all of the Palestinian controlled areas in 2002.

Referring to the statements of Hamas regarding stopping the firing of homemade shells, Ziv said that “he is not impressed”, and added that this is a Palestinian internal issue.

“The Palestinian Authority is suffering a political weakness”, He said, “Its attitude towards law enforcement is inconsistent”.

“Yet, during disengagement we saw another kind of Authority, the P.A fulfilled all mutual agreements during pullout”, Ziv reported, “This proves that the P.A is capable of accomplishing something, when it wants to”.

Also, Ziv added that the participation of Hamas in the upcoming legislative elections is “dangerous”,

“The participation of Hamas will grant it legitimacy as an armed political organization”, Ziv said, “This will undermine the position and power of the Palestinian Authority”.

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