Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned ministers that Israel is “preparing for the possibility of a military campaign in the Gaza Strip should the humanitarian conditions in the territory cause border clashes to spiral out of control”, according to the Times of Israel, citing a report by Hadashot news.
Netanyahu reportedly spoke of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s attempt to “choke” Gaza during the cabinet meeting, and said: “If the reality of civil distress in Gaza is diminished, that is desirable, but that is not certain to happen, and so we are preparing militarily — that is not an empty statement”.
After Qatar agreed to boost aid for the occupied enclave, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was said on Saturday to be planning on cutting the flow of funds to the Gaza Strip.
Senior Israeli defence officials told Hadashot news “that Abbas was particularly frustrated with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Nikolay Mladenov, who facilitated the transfer despite the PA president’s staunch objections”.
Security officials told the TV channel that “the halt of some $96 million that the PA sends monthly to the Gaza Strip could drive a desperate and cash-strapped Hamas toward conflict with Israel”. They also “expressed concern that the violence may expand into the West Bank”.
Meanwhile, “the Kan public broadcaster reported Saturday that Abbas had a tense phone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in which the latter warned Abbas that additional measures against the Gaza Strip would endanger the security of Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula.”
Abbas reportedly replied by saying: “It is the establishment of a Muslim Brotherhood state in Gaza that is endangering the national security of Egypt not me and my policies,” in a reference to Hamas.