Israel 'will not tolerate' Gaza rocket fire: Lieberman

Israeli Base at Reim (Israel) (AFP) –


Israel is ready to pay the price for the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as its capital but will not accept Palestinian rocket fire, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump's December 6 decision to recognise Jerusalem and move the US embassy there has led to near-daily protests in the Palestinian territories, with at least 15 rockets or projectiles fired at the Jewish state from the Gaza Strip.

A number have fallen inside the Palestinian enclave itself or been intercepted by Israel's missile defence systems, but a few have hit Israel.

They have caused minor damage but no injuries, although the attacks have raised fears of a new round of confrontation with Gaza's rulers Hamas, with which Israel has fought three wars since 2008.

"It was clear to us that the US President's declaration (on Jerusalem) will have a price, and I repeat, we are ready to pay the whole price. This determination (on Jerusalem) is important," Lieberman said during a visit to a military base near the Gaza border.

"We will not tolerate any leakage" of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel, he added.

Since the last round of conflict in 2014, Islamists Hamas and Israel have observed a tense ceasefire.

The Israeli army believes the rocket fire from Gaza has not come from Hamas but from more radical Islamist groups, broadly called Salafists.

Lieberman said Hamas had arrested Salafists in recent days, but there has been no confirmation of this from Hamas.

"Israel is ready and set like never before," Lieberman added.

"Hamas has also understood and internalised (this), and this is why we've seen dozens of Salafi activists arrested by Hamas."