Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said that Israel’s arrest of Palestinian ministers and parliament members from the Hamas was “a grave precedent, an international crime and an open declaration of war against the Palestinian people.”
In an interview for Al-Jazeera, al-Masri said, “This goes against all human moral and democratic values, and hurts the will of our people. The international community must have its say.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List – Ta’al) said the arrests of Hamas leaders overnight (Thursday) in Judea and Samaria were “a display of machismo by the Israeli government, which is in distress and is responsible for the deterioration of the situation and the bloodshed.”
“There is no relation between the affair of the kidnapped soldier and the arrests,” he said.
Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On told Ynet that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was “a declared terrorist and we will reach him too.”
'Don't settle for short-term military display'
“This is not the arrest of hostages to use as bargaining chips (for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit). The detainees are suspected of terrorist activity, and these are security-criminal arrests,” he said, adding that “I do not fear the international community’s response, because it is unified in its stance that the Hamas government is a terror government.”
MK Arieh Eldad (National Union- NRP) said “the government is showing signs that it is beginning to understand that Israel is at war; it’s a shame that we had to reach this difficult situation so that what is clear to most citizens will be clear to (Prime Minister Ehud) Ollmert and (Defense Minister Amir) Peretz.
“I hope they will continue with the move to defeat terror and not settle for a short-term military display,’ he said.
Ilan Marciano contributed to the report