Netanyahu Says Abbas Is Suffocating Gaza; 'I Don't Want Needless Wars'

Netanyahu blames Palestinian president for situation in Gaza Strip: He is strangling them economically, and then they lash out

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Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in Jerusalem, October 9, 2018
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in Jerusalem, October 9, 2018Credit: Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday Israel is working to ease conditions in the Gaza Strip in order to prevent an escalation in the south.

"We are trying to bring about a solution that will restore quiet and security for the communities near the Gaza border," he said at a press conference in Jerusalem. "We regularly act to prevent casualties… because of our actions, there is some caution, I would say, on the Palestinians side – and I think that they too understand that if a conflict erupts here the price they will pay will be very high," he said.

>> Gaza tension: Abbas-Hamas rift threatens to blow up in Israel's face | Analysis

According to Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is responsible for the situation in the Gaza Strip. "We don't want this situation – let's call it 'slow-burning' – will go on," he said. "On the other hand, they are suffocating. How did this situation come about? Because Abbas suffocates them and then they lash out.

"There are attempts to reach a practical solution for him to stop this suffocating," Netanyahu added. "I am trying to find a solution that will restore quiet and security, I am not interested in getting into needless wars."

Qatari-funded fuel arrives in Gaza

Earlier Tuesday, diesel fuel funded by the Gulf state of Qatar began arriving in the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel.

According to the reports, two trucks carrying a total of 35,000 liters (9,200 gallons) of fuel arrived at the border crossing in the company of United Nations vehicles.

Electricity is supplied on average for four hours a day in Gaza and over the past year, the only power plant in the Strip has had to shut down several times due to shortages of diesel fuel.

Despite the Israeli security establishment warning against moving forward with reconciliation without Abbas' involvement, it supported the fuel transfer. This was in light of the humanitarian condition in Gaza, which was deemed too fragile to risk, with diesel fuel being essential to power vital infrastructures and electricity.

Also on Tuesday, the Qatari-sponsored London daily Al-Arabi reported that Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel will visit Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Amman in the coming days as part of tour meant to promote a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Kamel is set to meet President Abbas, the report said, and convey a conclusive message from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi that he must cooperate with efforts to move towards calm and rehabilitation in the Gaza Strip, as well as advancing a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Otherwise Egypt will withdraw as mediator and sponsor of the negotiations and will work exclusively with Hamas as sovereign of Gaza, and the one responsible for the Strip's border with Sinai.

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