Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Air Algerie ‘lost contact’ with flight leaving Burkina Faso

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

Livni, Netanyahu vow to end Hamas rule of Gaza Strip

Video by Oliver FARRY , FRANCE 2

Latest update : 2008-12-22

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has pledged to make it a "strategic objective" to end Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip if she is elected prime minister in early elections slated for February, a pledge echoed by right-wing rival Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

AFP - Israel threatened on Sunday to launch a major offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as violence simmered around the impoverished territory days after the end of a truce with the Islamists.
   
The two frontrunners in the race to become prime minister after a snap election in February both vowed to topple Hamas, which has run Gaza since violently seizing power there in June 2007.
   
Militant rocket and mortar fire continued on Sunday, the Israeli army said, reporting that one person was slightly wounded.
   
Israel launched two air raids late Sunday targeting rocket launchers and an unidentified armed Palestinian group, a military spokesman said. Palestinian hospital sources said three activists and a child were wounded.
   
"Israel must topple the Hamas rule in Gaza and a government under my command will do just that," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, leader of the governing Kadima party, was quoted as saying by Israeli media.
   
"Israel must react when it is fired upon, must re-establish its force of dissuasion and stop the rockets."
   
Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party which is leading in opinion polls, echoed the sentiment.
   
"In the long run, we have no choice but to topple Hamas rule," he was quoted as saying by the Ynet news website as he toured the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of militant rocket attacks from Gaza.
   
"Right now we have to go from passive response to active assault."
   
Senior defence officials said after the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel was preparing to take action to halt the rocket strikes.
   
"We are preparing our response to the Hamas threat, with the decision yet to be taken on the timing and the scale," Amos Gilad, a senior adviser to Defence Minister Ehud Barak, told public radio.
   
A senior Israeli defence official told AFP that a major military confrontation in the besieged territory was unavoidable.
   
"It is obvious where we are heading in Gaza. The situation is intolerable but clear. The army's considerations are the only thing that is deciding when events will unfold," the official said on condition of anonymity.
   
In Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian woman in her 40s was wounded by shrapnel from a tank shell on Sunday, a Palestinian medic said, but the Israeli army denied opening fire in the area.
   
The army spokesman said militants had fired 19 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, wounding one person slightly and causing some damage.
   
The armed wing of the radical Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is loosely linked to the Fatah movement of president Mahmud Abbas, claimed it was behind the rockets.
   
Tensions around Gaza have risen steadily since Friday, when Hamas said it would not renew a six-month truce with Israel that came into effect in June after months of Egyptian mediation.
   
Since then, Gaza militants have launched several dozen rockets, causing some damage and slightly wounding a handful of civilians, and Israel has retaliated with air strikes, killing one militant and several other Palestinians.
   
Although several Israeli ministers have for weeks been calling for the army to oust the Islamist masters of Gaza, observers say the government is wary of launching a major offensive less than two months before the election for fear it would not be able to score a decisive victory.
   
"The politicians aren't in any rush to reach election day with an incomplete military operation and only partial results hanging around their necks," wrote military analyst Alex Fishman in top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot.
   
"And worse than that, to be accused of having ordered a military operation just to improve their chances at the ballot box," he said.
   
Israel responded to violence that erupted around Gaza in early November by tightening its blockade of the territory and halting deliveries of humanitarian aid and other basic supplies.
   
The over-crowded and aid-dependent land of some 1.5 million people has been subject to an Israeli blockade and repeated raids since 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian elections and later joined in a deadly cross-border raid which saw militants capture an Israeli soldier who remains hostage to this day.
  

Date created : 2008-12-21

COMMENT(S)