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Netanyahu accuses Abbas of 'choking flow of funds to Gaza'

Oct. 5, 2018 11:28 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2018 5:02 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warnedو in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on Thursday, that "if Hamas thinks it can attack Israel, it will be making a mistake."

During the conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu addressed the possibility that the Hamas movement in Gaza would attack Israel as a result of its people's financial distress.

Netanyahu stressed "If Hamas thinks that as a result of this plight it can attack Israel— it will be making a major mistake. Our response will be harsh, very harsh. I hope that it is possible to halt this strangulation but I also reiterate that Israel will act with all necessary strength to defend itself and its citizens."

"The situation in Gaza may be divided in two. First of all, the permanent effort by Hamas to arm itself and organize against Israel. Second, in the last year Abbas (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) made the situation in Gaza more difficult by choking off the flow of funds from the Palestinian Authority to Gaza."

Netanyahu went on to slam Abbas for his recent decisions to impose strict sanctions on the besieged Gaza Strip, in a bid to force Hamas to agree to a reconciliation deal.

He added "Abbas has interfered in all UN attempts to ease the plight in Gaza, including now. Many countries, today I can say that even the donor countries are condemning him for this, and rightly so."

Netanyahu's remarks came after Abbas’s speech at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly session in New York last week, during which Abbas warned to give up responsibility for Gaza if Hamas continues to refuse to respond Egyptian efforts to broker a reconciliation deal between the rival Palestinian factions.

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