Finance Minister Israel Katz launched a threat to Hamas leadership on Monday and said that even the slightest breach of the ceasefire between Israel and the terror outfit will prompt Jerusalem to act forcefully, even targeting its leader Yahyah Sinwar.
Speaking to the Ynet studio in an interview, Katz — a senior Cabinet member and close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — said that Hamas had suffered a heavy defeat in the latest spate of violence and that Israel will come for "Yahyah Sinwar's head."
Although Sinwar was seen in public since a ceasefire whose terms remain undisclosed took hold, Katz claimed that he was not given immunity from Israeli assassination as part of the agreement.
"He's leaving the bunker, but he should understand that he is not Saladin who defeated the Christian empire and liberated Jerusalem. He led Hamas to its most severe defeat in terms of the intensity of the blow it took, in my opinion," Katz said. "These are blows, the like of which we have never delivered before. We have set new rules, and Hamas will have to abide by them."
The Likud lawmaker also conditioned extensive rebuilding of the Gaza Strip and civilian assistance on the return of the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and captives Avera Mengistu and Hisham a-Sayed who are held by Hamas. However, Israel allows the entry of urgent supplies into the Palestinian enclave.
The finance minister rejected criticism from other members of the Cabinet who were not pleased with the results of the operation in Gaza and said that they all showed great appreciation to the military leadership, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman during Cabinet meetings.
Katz also praised the police for cracking down on Arab riots that erupted across the country and called to continue the efforts to eradicate crime in Arab society and cut it off from religious extremism and radical nationalism.