Palestinian rioters on Israel's border with Gaza

“We have reached the moment – we must strike Hamas with the hardest blow… War is inevitable,” Liberman said.

By: Ilanit Chernick/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Sunday that war with Hamas in Gaza was drawing ever closer.

Speaking at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said that “Hamas has yet to get the message that if it fails to stop its aggression it will be halted through other means and it will be painful, very painful.”

Netanyahu’s comments came after mass protests on Friday, during which several Palestinians breached the border fence and attacked an IDF position. Five Palestinians were killed in the incident and two more were killed during the violent protest along the border fence.

“We are very close to taking the kind of action that will include very painful strikes. If Hamas has any sense it will stop,” Netanyahu added.

‘Hamas is Responsible for Everything that is Happening’

Liberman was even more forceful warning that war with Gaza had become “inevitable.”

Liberman told the Hebrew language Ynet website that “We have reached the moment – we must strike Hamas with the hardest blow. We have made every effort and exhausted every possibility… War is inevitable.”

“Hamas has turned violence on the fence into a strategic weapon by which they hope to erode our ability to withstand and deter,” he told Ynet. “We have reached the moment that we have to strike the hardest blow possible on Hamas, but…the cabinet will have to decide.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also weighted in on the issue in an interview with Israel Radio, saying that: “Hamas is responsible for everything that is happening. If, in the coming days, we do not reach an understanding and quiet does not resume [on the Gaza border], there is a considerable probability of a major campaign.”

Nearly seven months of continued violence along the Gaza border have daily incendiary arson attacks that have destroyed thousands of acres of land in southern Israel and caused millions of shekels worth of damages.

Violent weekly mass demonstrations along the border have seen Palestinian breach the border fence on several occasions, attack Israeli military positions and vandalize security infrastructures.

Some 200 Palestinians have been killed, while one Israeli soldier was killed by sniper fire.

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Source: United with Israel