Hamas over the weekend repeatedly warned of the likelihood of a regional “all-out war” against Israel, with Hamas Deputy Head of the Political Bureau Saleh Al-Arouri saying the terror group is prepared for such a conflict. He further implied the topic of a multi-front fight with Israel has been discussed with Hezbollah in Lebanon. In an interview published on Friday with Al Mayadeen, a news outlet supportive of Hezbollah, Al-Arouri said a regional war is inevitable, cited Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s war warnings in the past and said Hamas is “closely discussing the prospects of this war with all relevant parties.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Sunday to the inflammatory interview with an allusion to the targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders done in the past. “I also heard the verbiage by the senior Hamas official Arouri, from his hiding place in Lebanon. He knows very well why he and his colleagues are in hiding,” said Netanyahu in comments published by Israel.
“Hamas, and the other Iranian proxies, understand very well that we will fight with all means against their attempts to use terrorism against us—in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and everywhere else. Whoever tries to hurt us, whoever finances and organizes, whoever dispatches terrorists against Israel—will pay the full price.”
Netanyahu’s comments follow decisions by the Israeli Security Cabinet last Tuesday “to strike at the terrorists and whoever dispatches them and authorized the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister to act accordingly,” according to an Israeli press release. Per The Times of Israel, engaging in assassinations was discussed. In the past, Israel has used targeted killings of terrorist leaders to restore deterrence and prevent more terror attacks, much the way the United States has targeted leaders of Al-Qaeda.
Al-Arouri mentioned assassinations as part of a series of events that would trigger a regional war, along with the libelous claim that Israel could launch an offensive against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which was also cited by Nasrallah as the reason for war. Al-Arouri boasted that if an “all-out” war is launched, it will lead to an “unprecedented defeat” for Israel. He threatened Israel’s airspace, seaports, communications and electrical infrastructure, and he expects Israel will withdraw from the entire Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, which he called “the West Bank.”
The verbal back-and-forth comes as Palestinian terrorists have increased the number of attacks against Israeli civilians. It also comes against the backdrop of a belligerent and increasingly desperate-acting Iran, who sponsors terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran—which remains under sanctions for their nuclear program after failed negotiations with the West—has attacked shipping in the region and produced nuclear fuel approaching weapon’s grade.
On Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel must unite to stand against the aggression. “We are facing waves of terrorism, both internal and external. These are not simple times; these are challenging times,” said Netanyahu. “We need to unite our forces against terrorism, against the crime in the Arab sector, against the external and internal threats that is being organized, to a large extent, by Iran via its proxies. If we stand together, we will prevail.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 27, 2023)