Israel’s defense minister resigns over Gaza ceasefire, calls for new elections

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation over Israel’s ceasefire in Gaza.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation in a press conference, Wednesday afternoon, expressing dissatisfaction with Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas. He says he will call for immediate elections.

“I announce my resignation,” Liberman said. “Yesterday’s ceasefire, in combination with an agreement process with Hamas is a capitulation to terror. What we’re doing in effect at the moment is buying quiet for the short-term at the cost of our national security in the long-term.”

“The answer we gave to 500 rockets was neither adequate nor enough. From the security interest point of view, we had to finish first of all the issue of the south. The weakness that we revealed broadcasts to other areas,” he said.

“If I continued in my role, I wouldn’t be able to look in the eyes of the southern residents or the families of the kidnapped and missing,” he added.

Cabinet meeting

After the Security Cabinet meeting last night, senior officials said that all the Cabinet members approved the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in the wake of recent violence.

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The Gaza-based terrorist organization launched 500 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities, the majority coming over Monday night. On Monday afternoon, Hamas destroyed an Israeli bus with a Russian-made anti-tank missile.

Associates of the defense minister, however, immediately denied the report, saying:

“The moment the last round of fighting started, in all the appraisals of the situation and in all the security meetings, the defense minister demanded tough and determined action against Hamas. The defense minister fiercely opposed the ceasefire, also in the smaller consultations with the prime minister before the Cabinet meetings in the presence of the heads of the defense establishments, and in the Cabinet itself.”

At the Wednesday afternoon press conference, Liberman gave another reason for his resignation — the issue of the illegal Bedouin outpost Khan-al-Ahmar. Built at a strategically sensitive location along Highway 1 in Judea, the outpost was slated for destruction but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed the demolition.

“I thought it was necessary to evacuate it, but to my regret also here Netanyahu prevented the evacuation,” Liberman said. “Also in other matters, but I won’t go into detail on all of them.”

Past history

In 2015, then-Foreign Minister Liberman also held a special press conference in which he announced his resignation from the Netanyahu government over matters relating to religious-secular issues, defense and areas beyond the Green Line.

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Netanyahu “has no intention to build housing, neither in major settlement blocks nor in Jerusalem. I emphasize – major settlement blocks and Jewish neighborhoods,” he said at that meeting.

He also said Netanyahu would do nothing about Hamas in Gaza.