Interview with Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Defense: Ramadan, Electricity in Gaza and Ten Years of Hamas’ Regime

 

Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, gives an exclusive interview to COGAT’s website. In it, he discusses the difficult situation in the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control 10 years ago. In addition, Minister Lieberman wishes Palestinians Ramadan Kareem.

 

 

In an exclusive interview today (15.6), Israel’s Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, wishes Palestinians a Ramadan Kareem and emphasizes the quiet that has been throughout Judea and Samaria during Ramadan. In addition, the Defense Minister discusses the electricity situation in the Gaza Strip and says that Israel is ready to supply electricity, but should not be the one to pay for it. Minister Lieberman stressed that 10 years after Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the situation there is difficult, and added that Israel is ready to work with the residents of Gaza if the Strip will demilitarize. He also called on residents of the Gaza Strip to demand from Hamas to invest in Gaza’s education and healthcare systems, instead of investing in terror and tunnels.  

Ramadan greeting to Palestinians

First off, let’s start with wishing a Ramadan Kareem to all residents of Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip and I am happy to see that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from across Judea and Samaria are fulfilling their religious obligations and they are coming to Israel to pray, and thank god, so far we have the holiday passing by calmly and I expect that it will stay this way until the end of Ramadan.

Ten years since Hamas' takeover of Gaza

Since Hamas seized power over the Gaza Strip over a decade ago, it has been a decade of suffering of the following three systems operating at their lowest levels: a shortage of electricity and sanitary conditions; and all issues regarding water and sewage, reaching a new level of devastation that has never been seen before in Gaza. I am asking each and every Gazan resident to look at the situation in Judea and Samaria and compare those conditions to the living conditions in Gaza. The Hamas leadership is guilty of this

Electricity situation in Gaza

The electricity crisis is a Palestinian crisis, the leaderships who need to pay for the electricity are Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. We are not a part of the equation, if they pay for the electricity they will receive the electricity and if they don’t pay for the electricity they won’t receive the electricity. We are an electricity supplier and we are definitely ready to provide. It is important to emphasize that Hamas collects 100 million NIS per month in taxes from Gazan residents. All of this money, instead of going to the education system, to improving the health system, to improving infrastructure and water—it is all going towards tunnels and rockets.

Demilitarizing Gaza

Hamas is trying to incite fury. Hamas is trying to elude responsibility for its failures and point the finger at Israel—but it is quite the opposite. Israel is ready to build industrial zones, create work positions and be a partner in constructing desalination facilities and power plants, but the base requirement for this is demilitarization. If there is demilitarization, there will be rehabilitation. From the 100 million NIS that is stolen from the residents of Gaza, the residents will not even enjoy one shekel. This cannot be permitted. Therefore, you must turn to the leadership of Hamas and demand them to stop their terror activities, to stop investing in tunnels and rockets. Demand from Hamas to invest money into the education and healthcare system.

Situation in Judea and Samaria

I am also happy to note that in the fields of personal security and economic development, we find ourselves in a totally new place. Judea and Samaria is in a constant state of development. With all of the debates and mutual criticisms, at the end of the day, all residents are enjoying the security situation, the prosperity and growth that is found nowhere else in the world. I look at the current situation for Palestinians in Lebanon, what their conditions are in Syria, what their conditions are in the Gaza Strip. In Judea and Samaria today, this is undoubtedly the safest place, in a security and an economic perspective, for Palestinians. I expect that at the end of the day, we will reach more opportunities for improvement and we will know how to utilize these opportunities.