Israel Unmoved by UN Probe, Stands Ground on Hamas


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel and Hamas are approaching the final hours of a second three-day ceasefire, and Israeli leaders are warning the world they won't tolerate a terrorist enclave in the Gaza Strip.

The stakes are high on both sides. Gaza must rebuild from the pounding it has already taken, and Israelis are more than weary after a decade of rocket attacks that produce constant stress.

But the chances of a long-lasting agreement don't look good.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid says if Hamas doesn't agree to a ceasefire, the Jewish state will strike harder than it did in the first wave of Operation Protective Shield.

And Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Jerusalem Post that Israel must "get rid of Hamas" in order for there to be peace in the region.

Whether Israel forges a temporary truce with Hamas or not, the country's leaders can count on another war from the Palestinians: a series of U.N. investigations and criminal charges in international courts.

The U.N. has already named what some in Israel call a "kangaroo court" to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. The appointed commission head, Canadian William Schabas, won't even say if he believes Hamas is a terror group.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "Israel has a duty to protect its citizens from rocket attacks by Hamas and other threats.  It is beyond question.  At the same time, the fighting has raised serious questions about Israel's respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality."

Jerusalem says it won't comply with the commission, despite the U.N.'s weak attempts to sound balanced.

Hamas, meanwhile, tried to rally support among Gazans in case the most recent truce collapses, exposing residents to another round of fighting.

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