Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ruled out the possibility of another large-scale military assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, saying Israel would pay a “heavy price” for such a move.
“There are two options: to topple Hamas with the Israeli army, for which we would pay a heavy price, or to try to find a situation in which the [Gazan] public itself would topple the [Hamas] regime,” Lieberman told Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday.
An armed Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it seized the enclave from rival Palestinian movement Fatah.
Answering questions about the possibility of Hamas winning future Palestinian elections, Lieberman said: “As far as I know, there is no chance of Hamas winning free elections in Gaza.”
In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and dismantled all of its settlements there. Its air/land/sea blockade of the territory, however, has remained intact until today.
In 2006, Hamas swept Palestinian legislative elections, results of which were never implemented due to outstanding differences -- and deep-seated acrimony -- between the resistance group and Fatah.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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