Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas representative in the Palestinian Legislative Council told Ynet Sunday “just like his predecessor (Shaul Mofaz), (Defense Minister Amir) Peretz is proving that he is a criminal and a terrorist.”
Al-Masri referred to the IDF operation in Jenin, which is being carried out under Peretz’s orders as “a war crime.”
“The world must intervene to stop the massacre instead of stopping the transfer of aid to the Palestinian people,” he said.
Al-Masri said Peretz’s policy comes as no surprise to him: “We have seen those before him who spoke moderately when they were in the opposition and transformed into murderers and terrorists when they attained power.”
Islamic Jihad was also quick to slam Peretz for ordering the IDF operation.
“Peretz proved that he is no less of a preying hawk than his predecessor, and he too will be held accountable for his policies, which will result in the death of Israeli citizens in retaliatory attacks that the Palestinian resistance groups are sure to carry out in response to the crime in Jenin,” Jihad leader Sheik Khaled el-Batsh said.
Peretz, for his part, praised the IDF for a successful operation in Jenin, during which senior Islamic Jihad commander Elias Ashkar was killed.
Palestinians during IDF operation in Qabatiyeh (Photo: AP)
"That's an important achievement against terror in Judea and Samaria, which took place as yet another Israel family was informed of the death of its son, Daniel Wultz, who was injured in an attack masterminded by Ashkar," Peretz said. "We will continue to fight terror intensively while trying to alleviate as much as possible on the Palestinian civilian population."
'No peacemakers in Israel'
El-Batsh continued by saying that “Peretz proved that in Israel there are no doves or hawks and that he wants to be even crueler than his predecessor.
“We (Islamic Jihad) have followed Peretz closely since he was named Labor chairman and until he entered the cabinet. I admit, we thought we could trust his early statements that he would act to end the occupation. He is a man who speaks a lot about peace and the need to end the occupation in order to end the cycle of violence, but apparently a wolf will always remain a wolf, and even if he becomes more moderate, he quickly resorts back to his predatory nature. Peretz proved he is no different than the criminal Mofaz. They both kill Palestinians.”
“I expected him to understand the interests of both sides and what the real path to bring security to Israelis is, which will not be achieved through killing Palestinians continuously. I estimated he would acknowledge the fact that Palestinians have rights, but it seems he is uninterested.
“Since he occupied the post we noticed a different attitude. He is following the path of his predecessor by giving orders to kill Palestinians. I tell him that be doing so he is not caring for the security of Israeli civilians but inviting responses by Palestinian groups, who will certainly claim a heavy price from Israeli civilians," he said.
El-Batsh added: "Peretz has proven that there are no peacemakers in Israel. There are no doves in Israel; all are wild hawks who know but kill and assassinate. He who does so will bear responsibility for the price."
'Peretz is irrelevant'
Sunday's operation in Jenin dimmed hopes among Palestinians that Peretz's socialist background will lead to a relative drop in IDF operations in the West Bank.
"We thought there is hope for a new situation; we thought the man with the socialist background, the man who spoke of the need for peace and dialogue, for common living, will endorse different patterns. We thought that his understanding of the economic and social price of the occupation and its influence on people's life in Israel will affect his policy; but today he made us understand that in Israel they are all the same. Peretz, like his predecessor, knows one thing: killing Palestinians and nothing else."
The spokesperson for the Palestinian Interior and National Security Ministry, Khaled Abu Hallal, said that IDF operations ordered soon after Peretz taking over the Defense Ministry prove that no minister can influence the security establishment and change things on the ground.
He added that the Palestinian have no hope that the situation in the territories will change with Amir Peretz.
"We understand well that decisions do not depend on Peretz, but more on real decisions taken by the Israeli government to change its policy. But it seems the Israeli government is not ready for this, and therefore we turn to the Israeli public who is yearning for peace and stability."