Olmert urges Gazans to stop Hamas
In interview with al-Arabiya network, prime minister turns to Strip's residents, says 'Hamas is the resident's enemy – not only in Israel but in Gaza too. I think about the tens of thousands of children and innocent people who will be put in danger as a result of Hamas' actions'
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appealed to the Gaza Strip's residents on Thursday, urging them to stop Hamas.
"We don’t want to fight the Palestinian people, but we won't let Hamas hurt our children. We have a lot of power, which we are not eager to use. Gaza's residents, don't let the Hamas murderers, who are acting against the values of Islam, put you in danger," Olmert said in an interview with the UAE-based al-Arabiya television news channel.
The prime minister went on to say that Israel left Gaza about three years ago, not in order to return.
He turned to the Strip's residents and added, "I'm talking to you as a father, as a grandfather, and I know there's nothing I want less than putting my children and grandchildren in danger.
"Is killing innocent children the spirit of Islam? Is it firing missiles at kindergartens and on civilians? I don't think this is the spirit of Islam. Hamas is the main reason for your suffering, for the suffering of all of us."
Olmert told the residents that this was "a last call" to stop the rocket fire.
"I know how much you want to wake up in the morning in peace, take your children to the kindergarten or to school, just like we want to, just like people in Sderot and Netivot want to," he said.
"Hamas is the residents' enemy – not only in Israel but in Gaza too. I think about the tens of thousands of children and innocent people who will be put in danger as a result of Hamas' activities."
He directed a rhetorical question to the viewers as the Israeli prime minister, saying, "Can I afford more missiles on Israel's residents? Seeing children and civilians get hurt and doing nothing? Of course not.
"Hamas is firing at us and at the power station providing electricity to Gaza. Stop them. Stop your enemies and ours. Tell them to stop firing at innocent people.
"I'm not here to declare a war. I've said this in the past: As long as I'm prime minister I plan to reach peace, not to fight the Palestinians. But Hamas must be stopped, and this will happen."
As for the humanitarian situation in the Strip, Olmert said Israel won't let Gaza's residents sink into a crisis and that they would not suffer from a shortage of food or medications.