- Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Resigns, Slams Gaza Ceasefire as ‘Capitulation to Terror’
Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned as a protest against the ceasefire in Gaza, calling the deal a “capitulation to terror.” His right-wing party, Yisrael Beiteinu, will also leave the ruling coalition.
In a live televised address, Liberman called yesterday’s ceasefire a “surrender to terror” that only achieves “short-term quiet” while damaging Israel’s “long-term security.” A writer for Haaretz saidthat the ex-defense minister “looked quite cheerful” as he announced his resignation.
Lieberman strongly opposed the Israeli government’s decision to agree a truce with Hamas, apparently arguing that Tel Aviv should take “harsh, decisive”actions against Gaza. He said that he could not reconcile his own views with the policies adopted by the Israeli government in Gaza, compelling him to resign.
“If I had remained in post, I couldn’t have looked in the eyes of our citizens in the south and the family members of the dead IDF soldiers whose bodies are held by Hamas. Any humanitarian improvement in Gaza should have been conditional on their being returned,” he was quoted as saying.
Lieberman confirmed that his resignation will be followed by the withdrawal of his right-wing nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu, from the ruling coalition with Netanyahu’s Likud. With Yisrael Beitenu’s departure, the coalition will be down to just 61 seats in parliament – holding a 1-seat majority. As a result, early elections are expected as soon as March 2019.