TEL AVIV — Hamas on Thursday warned Israel it would regret moving forward with plans to extend Israeli law over parts of the West Bank, and doing so was tantamount to a “declaration of war” on the Palestinians.
“The resistance considers this decision to be a declaration of war upon the Palestinian people. The resistance will be the loyal and dutiful guard of the people throughout this war, acting in defense of our people, our land, and our holy sites,” Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing the Izz a-Din al-Qassam brigades, said in a fire and brimstone speech.
“We will make the enemy bite his fingers in remorse for this sinful decision,” he added.
He added the planned move constituted the “biggest theft of Palestinian land in decades.”
“And those who oppress will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned,” he added, and went on to say the “resistance would ensure that the occupation would be removed from all the lands of historic Palestine.”
Abu Obeida also noted the day marked 14 years since IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas. He boasted that the 2011 prisoner exchange five years later resulting in the biggest coup for Hamas with more than 1,000 Palestinian terrorists released in return for Shalit.
He warned Hamas had several options to choose from to bring about another prisoner exchange deal.
“We want to remind the Zionist occupier that there won’t be any new [prisoner swap] unless it includes senior leaders and heroic prisoners who have the blood of the occupiers on their hands,” he said. “The occupation will pay this price, willingly or unwillingly.”
In a separate statement addressed to the Palestinian public, Hamas said, “Let’s rise. Let’s launch a popular revolution everywhere so that the enemy would know that there are men in Palestine and heroes in our nation who will protect the land, the people and the holy shrines and repel this enemy.”
The Israeli plan is a “conspiracy woven by the Zionist occupation, the American administration and some Arab conspirators against the Palestinian people,” the statement said.
The terror group added that it was the “religious, moral and patriotic duty” to stop the plan from coming to fruition.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz responded to Hamas, warning them that an Israeli response to violence would be “strong and painful.”
“I suggest they remember that they’ll be the first ones to pay for any aggression,” he said. “The IDF is the strongest army in the region and the price for any attempt to harm Israeli civilians will be strong and painful.”