Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman implicitly criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, accusing him of surrendering the initiative to Hamas in the wake of the collapse of the latest cease-fire in the South.
In a Facebook post titled "Bring Hamas to submission," Liberman writes: "I hope that it is clear now that the policy of 'quiet will be met with quiet' means that Hamas is the one that takes the initiative and the one that decides when, where, and how many rockets it fires on Israeli civilians, while we are making do with reacting. Even if our reaction is a strong one, it is still a reaction."
"Hamas has control over the intensity of the fighting and it fires whenever it is convenient for it to interrupt the daily routine of Israeli civilians, particularly those living in the South," the foreign minister wrote. "It happened on [Tuesday], it's happening today, and it is liable to happen on September 1st and on Rosh Hashanah eve."
"The proposals we have heard thus far whereby there is no deal, no agreement, and no unequivocal commitment by the Palestinians to halt their fire means that we are in for a war of attrition, which is something that the State of Israel cannot be dragged into."
"We are also hearing proposals from certain politicians who advocate unilateral steps," Liberman said. "These politicians are suffering from memory lapse, as I would like to remind you that a unilateral measure known as 'disengagement,' which has already been carried out in Gaza, has yielded the results for which we are paying today."
"Even if, Heaven forbid, [Meretz chief] Zehava Gal-On was prime minister and [Hadash MK] Dov Henin was defense minister, they, too, would ultimately order a wide-scale military operation to topple the Hamas regime," the foreign minister wrote. "So when people speak seriously about the security of the citizens of Israel, one needs to understand that there is no other viable alternative but a determined Israeli campaign that leads to one thing – bringing Hamas to submission."
Gal-On's office issued a press release in response to Liberman's post, calling the foreign minister's claims "infantile."
"Liberman is trying to sell us the delusion of liquidating Hamas for years now," the Meretz chairperson said. "If the residents of the South are still vulnerable to rocket fire and shelling after a month of destruction and killing in the Gaza Strip, then apparently this operation didn't change anything, and no military operation will change it."
"Whoever calls for a more massive response and more assassinations in order to create deterrence and achieve a victory apparently has not learned the bloody lessons of the last month, during which 64 soldiers were killed on the Israeli side and 2,000 Palestinians were killed."