Is­raeli de­fense min­is­ter quits over Gaza cease-fire deal

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Is­raeli De­fense Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion on Wed­nes­day in protest at a Gaza cease-fire that he called a “ca­pit­u­la­tion to ter­ror,” weak­en­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s con­ser­va­tive coali­tion govern­ment.

“Were I to stay in of­fice, I would not be able to look south­ern res­i­dents in the eye,” Lieber­man said, re­fer­ring to Is­raelis sub­jected to a surge in Pales­tinian rocket at­tacks be­fore Tues­day’s truce took hold.

Lieber­man said his res­ig­na­tion, which will go into ef­fect 48 hours af­ter he sub­mits a for­mal let­ter to Ne­tanyahu, also with­draws his far-right Is­rael Beit­enu party from the coali­tion.

That would leave Ne­tanyahu with con­trol of just 61 of the 120 seats in par­lia­ment a year be­fore Is­rael’s next elec­tion.

Is­raeli po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors had spec­u­lated that Ne­tanyahu, who de­spite his ap­proval rat­ings has been dogged by mul­ti­ple cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions, might bring for­ward the bal­lot. But a spokesman for his right­ist Likud party played down that op­tion, say­ing Ne­tanyahu would as­sume the de­fense post.

“There is no need to go to an elec­tion dur­ing what is a sen­si­tive pe­riod for na­tional se­cu­rity. This govern­ment can see out its days,” the spokesman, Jonatan Urich, said on Twit­ter.

Lieber­man has spo­ken in fa­vor of harsh Is­raeli mil­i­tary ac­tion against Gaza’s dom­i­nant Ha­mas Is­lamists, even as the govern­ment au­tho­rized a Qatari cash in­fu­sion to the im­pov­er­ished en­clave last week and lim­ited it­self to airstrikes rather than a wider cam­paign dur­ing this week’s fight­ing.

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