Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has declared that its leaders are not at all fearful of the assassination threats made against them by far-right Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman, who has now been appointed as the regime’s minister of military affairs.
Hamas politburo member Fathi Hammad said during a Friday protest rally in the Gaza Strip that the threats previously made by Lieberman to assassinate the movement’s political and military leaders would not affect the popular resistance group.
The rally was being held to mark the 1948 creation of the Israeli regime — known as the Nakba Day or the Day of the Catastrophe.
During the rally, thousands of Palestinian residents of the territory burned pictures of high-ranking Israeli officials and demanded an end to the nine-year-old siege of impoverished Gaza.
Palestinians burn pictures of Avigdor Lieberman during Nakba Day rallies in the besieged Gaza Strip, May 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
“We do not call for war, but we would fight if it was imposed upon us,” Hammad said.
‘On the brink of madness’
Lieberman, who leads Israel’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, earlier accepted an offer by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to become minister of military affairs.
The hawkish politician is notorious for his threats to have Hamas leaders assassinated, notably saying in 2014 that murdering Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal would be the only way to deter future tunnel construction in the densely-populated Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
He has also called on Israel to treat Hamas the same way as the United States treated “the Japanese in World War II.”
Palestinian women walk past a mural on the 68th anniversary of the Nakba Day, in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, May 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
With Lieberman becoming minister of military affairs, Netanyahu is now set to lead the most extremist cabinet in the history of the Israeli regime. Opposition politician Isaac Herzog has said that, with the inclusion of Lieberman, the Israeli cabinet is now “on the brink of madness.”
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has also censured Liberman’s appointment, saying in a Thursday statement that the decision “confirms the lack of a peace partner in Israel.”
“Whoever follows daily the procedures and violations carried out by the extremist Netanyahu administration against the Palestinian people, [sees] the racist, radical and violent nature of the politics of the cabinet since day one,” the statement added.
In his Friday remarks, Hammad also said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah movement “does not have a place in the leadership of our people and he should step aside.”