Israel's defense chief resigns, slamming Netanyahu for 'surrendering to Hamas terror'

17:24 • 14.11.18



Isreali Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday and called for elections to be held as soon as possible, saying he hopes a date will be set by Sunday, Haaretz reports.


Lieberman said all of the members of his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, will quit the coalition.


However, a senior source in Likud, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party, said that elections are not necessarily the next step and added that Netanyahu will initially take on Lieberman's portfolio. Lieberman, who heads Yisrael Beiteinu, will retake his Knesset seat following his resignation, as provided for by law.


"I didn't look for reasons to quit," Lieberman said in a press conference. "I tried to remain a loyal government member, in the cabinet, keep differences internal even at an electoral cost." The two turning points, he said, were the millions of dollars in cash delivered from Qatar to Gaza, and the cease-fire Israel reached with Hamas on Tuesday.


"There is no other definition, no other significance, but a capitulation to terror," he said, adding: "What we are doing now as a country is buying short-term quiet at the cost of our long-term security."


"It is no secret that there were differences between the prime minister and I," Lieberman said. "I did not agree to allow entry of Qatari money [into Gaza], and I had to allow it only after the prime minister announced it." He said similar differences revolved around the evacuation of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank.


Yisrael Beiteinu's departure means Netanyahu still holds a slender Knesset majority (61-59) seats to maintain the coalition. Another key coalition partner in Netanyahu's government, Habayit Hayehudi (headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett), said that unless the defense portfolio goes to Bennett, the party will also quit the coalition.





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