Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited the Gaza Division Tuesday and congratulated the incoming commander of the southern command, Major Hartzi Halevi.
"First of all, I came to congratulate the new Southern Command Chief Hartzi Halevy, who just entered his position this week. I wish him great success. I express my great thanks to the outgoing Southern Command chief, Eyal Zamir, who has dealt with the terrorism from the Gaza Strip for years in the most effective and successful way. He truly deserves the appreciation of all of Israel," Liberman said.
"I also want to convey a message to our neighbors here in the Gaza Strip. Residents of Gaza, you have in fact become hostages of the Hamas government. You can build a much better future for your children. You can have all the humanitarian, economic, and civil aid, but first you must topple the Hamas regime. We ask you once more: pressure the Hamas leaders first to return prisoners and missing persons. The return of the POWs and missing persons would open a huge window to ensure humanitarian and economic assistance for all the residents of Gaza. However, as long as the Hamas regime endures, unfortunately, the chance for coexistence, for cooperation, for a better future for a Gazan - simply does not exist," the defense minister said.
In response to a question about recent acts of kite terrorism, Liberman said: "We are dealing with what I have already said, including in the Knesset debate yesterday, we manage to intercept two thirds of all the kites and balloons, despite the increase in the use of this tool here. Hamas is exploiting in the most despicable and cynical manner the medical system of the Gaza Strip. The helium we supply to hospitals, medical equipment, mainly for MRIs - instead of this helium going to those patients who need MRIs, they use it [for these weaponized balloons] and ignite fields here in the south. That's how we know who we a re dealing with here, and we a re preparing an answer for the third that gets through. I think they they stretch this rope too much and eventually this rope will tear."