Video footage of Hamas terrorists’ attack does not suggest that this was a fight for Palestine, Israeli Ambassador to Latvia Sharon Rappaport-Palgi told the media on Monday.
The Israeli Embassy in Latvia on Monday had invited media representatives to watch a 43 minutes long video footage of the Hamas terrorist group’s October 7 attack on Israel. The footage included recordings of Hamas terrorists’ own body cameras and Israeli surveillance cameras, victims’ dash cams, as well as Hamas materials and victims’ posts on social media.
The material demonstrated by the Israeli Embassy includes also telephone conversations. In one of them a terrorists tells his parents that he is a hero because he has killed someone with his own hands. In another footage, there is a wounded man lying on the floor and a Hamas terrorist trying to cut his head off with a weapon resembling a pickax. One video recording shows a child being killed.
All these atrocious scenes suggest that this is not a fight for Palestine but a cold blooded massacre, the Israeli ambassador stressed.
According to the ambassador, there are an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 terrorists in the Gaza Strip who are permanent residents of Gaza. Hamas has been controlling the Gaza Strip since 2007 when the Palestinian Authority was driven out of this territory. The Israeli diplomat believes that residents of the Gaza Strip have been radicalized since then.
“Some say that the people of Gaza have nothing to do with this war. But you saw in the video how the people of Gaza are enjoying what is happening, taking pictures, spitting on people. As soon as sections of the fence were dismantled on October 7, people came into Israel on motorbikes, on bicycles. They were young people and people of respectable age. They came to steal money, kill and rape,” the ambassador said.
Rappaport-Palgi indicated that the north of the Gaza Strip is the main center of Hamas activity. This is where most of the headquarters and ammunitions are located. According to the ambassador, Hamas has a vast network of underground tunnels in Gaza, including under hospitals. Although there are still civilians in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, most of them have managed to move south. The ambassador said that the plan was to keep this part besieged and to fight terrorism. To do this, Israeli soldiers will have to go into these tunnels.
“We understand very well that the price of this war will be high on the Israeli side as well. But we see no other choice. We cannot allow this murderous, terrorist organization to continue to live next to our border. We must destroy Hamas completely and make sure that they have no more opportunities to attack,” the ambassador said.
Rappaport-Palgi noted that the priority is to fight the terrorists in Gaza. At the same time, civilians would be allowed to move south where they could receive humanitarian assistance. According to November 5 figures, more than 526 aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip. There is no shortage of water, medicine and food in the Gaza Strip, but there is a shortage of fuel, the ambassador said.
“There is a shortage of fuel because Hamas uses it to light their tunnels. There must also be some kind of ventilation in the tunnels. Fuel provides all that. “Hamas stole more than a million liters of fuel from the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA). Fuel is handed over to the hospitals every other day because Hamas maintains tension claiming that the hospitals will collapse at any moment. But the hospitals continue to operate with the small amount of fuel that Hamas gives them,” Rappaporta-Palgi said.
Commenting on the situation before the October 7 attack, the Israeli ambassador said that Gazans working in Israel were returning with a lot of information needed by terrorists. Around 20,000 people arrived in Israel from the Gaza Strip every day.
According to Rappaport-Palgi, Iran was involved in this war, funneling money to terrorists in all sorts of ways through various charities. Iran also has ways of getting people out of the Gaza Strip, she said.
People think that Gaza is a closed enclave, but there are still people going in and out, there are people with dual nationality, there are people flying through Egypt to other countries. “The Gaza Strip is not as closed as it might seem. There are tunnels leading not only to Israel but also to Egypt, where all kinds of goods are smuggled. Yes, people are also smuggled,” said Rappaport-Palgi.
Asked whether the Israeli army (IDF) had any information on the number of casualties caused by the war in the Gaza Strip, the ambassador said that she had no such estimates. She called attention to the fact that whenever the Gaza Ministry of Health or the Gaza Ministry of the Interior were mentioned, it was in reference to information provided by Hamas, which controls everything there.
“Hamas is probably increasing the number of war casualties to the extreme. Israel has declared that it is safe to move into the south of the Gaza Strip, but Hamas does not allow it. They are putting obstacles in the way,” the ambassador said.
“When you see casualties in the Gaza Strip, you have to bear in mind that most of the casualties are caused by Hamas preventing people from moving and using them as human shields. People want to hide in tunnels, but their leaders say that the tunnels are for Hamas to protect them,” the ambassador said.
Asked who supplies arms to Hamas, Rappaport-Palgi said she had no clear idea where the arms come from, but that they are smuggled all the time. Iran is the main supplier, while Qatar controls the situation in the Gaza Strip.
As for what the future might hold for Gaza, the Israeli ambassador said that the future is uncertain, as the dismantling of Hamas is still a long way off. Rappaport-Palgi stressed that this would not be a matter of a week, two weeks or a month. She assumes that one scenario could be that the Palestinian Authority returns to the Gaza Strip, another scenario could involve the presence of an international force in the Gaza Strip.
“We have to dismantle Hamas before we can we think about this question of how the Gaza Strip will be controlled. But it is quite clear that this cannot happen in the way it has happened so far. It will not happen. We will not allow it,” the ambassador said.
She acknowledged that the situation could escalate: “Hezbollah fires rockets into Israel every day. The Yemeni Houthis have fired four times, mainly at southern Israel. They say they will join. Iraqi fighters are gathering along the border with Jordan because it is the route to Israel. They have expressed their desire to cross the border and join their brothers. There is a possibility that this war could escalate.”
“We are not in contact with Hamas. The Qataris are in contact with Hamas and they are in contact with us. The Red Cross has not had access to the hostages so far. We would like them to look at them and let us know what condition they are in. We do not even know if the hostages are alive,” the ambassador said.
As LETA already reported, Hamas militants invaded Israel on October 7 and launched a massacre, killing more than 1,400 people and taking at least 224 hostages. Israel has responded to this attack with air and artillery strikes against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
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