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Israel Adamant on Ousting Hamas
by IOL (reposted)
Sunday Dec 21st, 2008 11:09 AM
While preparing for a possible massive offensive on Gaza Strip, Israeli leaders vowed on Sunday, December 21, to do what it takes to oust the ruling Hamas.
"The state of Israel, and a government under me, will make it a strategic objective to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi told members of her centrist Kadima party, Reuters reported.

Livni, who seeks to form the government after the February 10 snap election, said that all means would be allowed to achieve this goal.

"The means for doing this should be military, economic and diplomatic."

Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the opposition Likud party and Livni's main rival for the premiership, also said toppling Hamas would be the main object of his government.

"In the long-term, the toppling of the Hamas regime is inevitable."

The same point was made by several cabinet ministers.

"What we want is to end the Hamas regime in Gaza," Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon told public radio.

Hamas became the ruling party in the occupied Palestinian territories after defeating once-dominant Fatah in the March 2006 and forming the government.

Differences and eventual infighting led to the sacking of the Hamas-led national unity government by President Mahmoud Abbas in June 2007.

Hamas has since remained the ruling authority in the Gaza Strip, home to nearly 1.6 million Palestinians.

Tensions have risen steadily since Friday, when the major Palestinian factions, including Hamas, did not renew a six-month truce with Israel.