UK

Isaac Hertzog Tells Newsnight Gaza Offensive Is Part Of Broader Clash Between Extreme Islam And Moderate States

30/07/2014 00:54 BST | Updated 30/07/2014 01:59 BST

The Israeli offensive in Gaza is part of a broader clash in the region, pitting Islamists extremist against moderate nations, according to the Israeli leader of the opposition.

Speaking with Robert Peston on Newsnight on Tuesday, Isaac Hertzog was asked with more than 200 Palestinian children already dead, at what point will the government in Tel Aviv say they have achieved their objectives in Gaza?

"Whilst we protect out citizens, we - Labour and the peace camp – believe we should be proactive on moving on peace with [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas and with the Palestinian authority, and weaken Hamas," said Hertzog.

"We are in the midst of a clash of extreme Islam versus moderate nations and a coalition of moderate states that sees ISIS on the east, Hamas on the south and Hezbollah in the north, that’s the real battle in the region. It’s a battle between a coalition of nations that believes in fighting terror and moving towards peace, and combating extreme terror organisations that don’t see Israel as their only stop on the way to Europe."

Hertzog also questioned the popularity of Hamas in Gaza, saying that Gazan citizens are living "under gun threats", adding: "They’re not really free to express their opinion. Gaza has been abducted by Hamas."

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