Hamas is threatening not to renew the current ceasefire and to resume attacks on the Jewish state after both Israel and Egypt rejected many of the terror group’s demands during truce talks in Cairo.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the threat amounted to nothing short of “blackmail,” while Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned Hamas not to test Israel’s resolve.
During negotiations on Thursday, Israel and Egypt said no to Hamas’ demand that the international community build for it an airport and seaport in Gaza. Egypt also rebuffed the stipulation that it reopen the border crossing between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.
Israel has actually been reported to be somewhat more compliant, but not with Hamas directly. Rather, Israel has expressed openness to a proposal put forward by Britain, Germany and France that outlines major reconstruction in Gaza, an easing of the Israeli blockade and the demilitarization of the volatile coastal enclave.
Israeli officials said they are more than willing to go along with the European plan, so long as it hinges on the disarmament of Hamas and other terror groups currently holding sway in Gaza.
It was unclear how the Europeans intended to accomplish that goal, though the document did make mention to reinstalling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as the governing authority in Gaza.
Many Israelis would argue, however, that Abbas was previously in charge of Gaza and his forces failed to retain control when Hamas decided to violently seize the area in 2007.
For its part, Hamas has rejected all talk of disarming, and has instead boasted that despite Israel’s best military efforts, it still possesses a huge arsenal of missiles and that a number of terror tunnels reaching into southern Israel remain intact.