Hamas abides by cease-fire, restrains protests

Hamas abides by cease-fire, restrains protests

Gaza's Hamas rulers are sticking to cease-fire with Israel by keeping border protests widely restrained.

"I advise the occupation (Israel) not to repeat the experience of sending a special military undercover force because next time we will clean the Israeli prisons", said Sinwar, referring to kidnapping soldiers and exchanging them for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Witnesses said most of the injuries occurred in stone-throwing incidents at the usual five protest locations. Such acts have often triggered lethal Israeli army fire.

Demonstrators have been attending mass protests in Gaza since 30 March to demand the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees whose families were displaced during the establishment of the state of Israel.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that Israelis from Jewish settlements surrounding Gaza were joined by others, from Tel Aviv and other cities, to express solidarity with their call for "stronger action" from the Israeli government towards Gaza.

Lieberman made the remarks on Friday - two days after resigning his post in protest against a Tuesday cease-fire between Israel and Hamas-led resistance factions.

Mr Netanyahu instead took the portfolio himself, leading Mr Bennett's Jewish Home party to pull out of the government, taking eight seats with it and leaving Mr Netanyahu without a majority in parliament.

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The idea was raised again that the council members go on a visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, he said, adding though not thoroughly discussed, the proposal was supported by many members at the meeting. A date for the elections will be decided on on Sunday by the heads of parties in the coalition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to delay the dissolution of the current government by at least another month and a half, in order to allow him to confirm the appointment of the next IDF chief of staff and Israel police chief, an associate of the premier told the Haaretz newspaper on Friday evening.

The political crisis began with a botched Israeli undercover raid in Gaza on Sunday.

After Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday, Netanyahu called to "stabilize" his governing coalition.

Early Friday, Bennett's party delivered an ultimatum, saying if he was not given the position of defense minister, they too would withdraw from the coalition, thus ensuring the collapse of the government and forcing the advent of early elections.

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