Hamas on Tuesday threatened to escalate violence against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip unless Jerusalem eases restrictions on the coastal enclave in accordance with the terms of a recently-hammered out ceasefire agreement.
Israel has until the coming weekend to comply.
Among other things, Hamas is demanding that Israel increase the supply of electricity to Gaza (for which Israel rarely receives payment) and allow the transfer of large sums of Qatari financial aid, as reported by the Lebanese newspaper _Al-Akhbar_.
Israel had already allowed two out of six Qatari aid transfers, but halted a third when Gaza terrorists violated the ceasefire by shooting an Israeli soldier at the border fence.
Hamas claims that many of the recent incidents of violence have been the actions of “lone wolves,” and that such independent attacks will escalate if the international community doesn’t put pressure on Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza.
According to Hamas, Gaza is “ready to explode.” In addition to four terrorist rockets being fired at southern Israel since last week, Israeli forces thwarted repeated attempts by terrorists, some armed to the teeth, to infiltrate the southern Negev region.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has born most of the criticism for the tense situation, with many Israelis displeased by what they see as kid-glove responses to the terrorists. For his part, Netanyahu rejected the criticism and warned that the upcoming general election would not prevent him from ordering a major military operation in Gaza if Hamas doesn’t get the situation under control.