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Israel warns Hamas after rocket fire
Question of the Day
“I see the Hamas as directly responsible for any attack that comes from the Gaza Strip toward the state of Israel, and the international community should see it this way as well,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Israel reserves the right to defend its citizens, and we will continue to use all means to protect the people of Israel and the children of Israel.”
The attacks, including a rocket fired Friday at an Israeli city six miles from Gaza, caused damage but no injuries. No Palestinian group took responsibility for the attacks.
Years of rocket fire from Gaza largely has subsided since Israel launched a fierce offensive in the Palestinian territory in December 2008.
The three-week war dramatically reduced the number of rockets hitting Israel but devastated the densely populated and impoverished Palestinian territory and drew international criticism.
Most of the rocket fire since has been carried out by smaller militant groups that do not necessarily accept Hamas authority. Hamas for the most part has refrained from launching attacks, apparently because of concerns about Israeli retaliation.
“Netanyahu and his government bear all the consequences of this escalation,” he said.
The violence came shortly after the Arab League authorized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to enter into direct peace talks with Israel, a notion that Gaza militants abhor. The league endorsed the idea after President Obama warned Mr. Abbas in a letter that U.S.-Palestinian relations might suffer if the Palestinian leader refused to resume direct negotiations.
“I think the international community — at least an important part of it, and of course the United States — expects the Palestinian Authority to put aside all the excuses and arguments and all the conditions and get into direct peace talks,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “I call on Abu Mazen to take a brave decision to start peace talks with Israel.”
Mr. Abbas insists he will negotiate only if Israel commits to freezing all settlement construction. Palestinians are wary of resuming talks with Mr. Netanyahu without agreeing first on an agenda, a timetable and a framework.
Mr. Netanyahu has refused to be pinned down and make concessions ahead of talks. He has put in place a partial 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank that is due to expire in late September.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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