Hamas Says ‘Land War’ Would Cost Israeli PM Netanyahu the Election
he leader of Hamas said Monday it was up to Israel to end the new conflict it had started, adding that a “land war” would cost Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the election.
“[Netanyahu] can do it, but he knows that it will not be a picnic and that it could be his political death and cost him the elections,” Khaled Meshaal, exiled leader of Hamas, told a news conference in Cairo.
“Whoever started the war must end it,” Meshaal said, adding that Netanyahu, who faces an election in January, had asked for a truce, an assertion a senior Israeli official described as untrue.
For its part, Israel said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon has said that “if there is quiet in the south and no rockets and missiles are fired at Israel’s citizens, nor terrorist attacks engineered from the Gaza Strip, we will not attack.”
According to a poll by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, 84 percent of Israelis supported the current Gaza assault, but only 30 percent wanted an invasion, while 19 percent wanted their government to work on securing a truce soon.
Acting as a mediator, Egypt said Monday that a deal for a truce to end the fighting could be close, as Israel bombed dozens of suspected guerrilla sites in the densely populated Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in its campaign to quell militant rocket fire menacing nearly half of Israel’s population.