In a controversial move, the leading Palestinian newspaper, Al-Quds, has conducted a long interview with Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, Â raising sharp criticism within the Palestinian community who called the interview an act of “normalizing occupation”.
In the interview, Lieberman said, according to the PNN, that Israel is ready to lift the seige on Gaza, under the condition that Hamas ditches its military program. He also threatened that if there would be a war on Gaza, and that it will be the last, because it will be collateral.
Lieberman added that, if Hamas stops digging tunnels and launching rockets, Israel will help build both an airport and a seaport.
Editorâ€™s note:Â Palestine has no official military force to speak of. Default â€śHamas rocketsâ€ť are not equipped with aÂ guidance system, and are typically constructed of little more than a hollow tube stuffed full ofÂ dynamite,Â typically falling onto unpopulated regionsÂ of the Negev Desert.
During the war on Lebanon in 2006, Israel had shelled the Gaza International Airport, causing it complete destruction.
According to UNRWA figures, the last Israeli war on Gaza had killed at least 2,000 Palestinians, 500 of them children, and left 11,000 wounded. On the Israeli side, 70 soldiers (three of them settlers) were killed.
Archive IMEMC video: 09/02/14 Gaza Cityâ€™s Devastated Al-Shujaâ€™eyya Suburb
Lieberman, during the interview, also cited all the wars in Yemen, Lybia, Syria, and Iraq, to say that Israel is â€śthe only democracy in the Middle Eastâ€ť, and that its intentions have been “misunderstood”.
As for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Lieberman said that he supports the two-state solution, but is not prepared to give up occupied land in exchange for peace.
(Edited for the IMEMC by chris @ imemc.org)
Related interest: 09/05/16 Striking Gaza 50 times: Liebermanâ€™s Phantom Victory
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.