It’s “only a matter of time” until the next flareup between Israel and Hamas once Operation Protective Edge ends, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Wednesday.
Addressing the leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Liberman said he believed that further hostilities could break out within another 10 or 15 months.
“They will have more weapons, more rockets,” he said.
While the idea of a cease-fire “sounds good,” he added in an apparent jab at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “it is clear that Hamas will never accept any cease-fire, any truce. Egypt proposed one, Hamas refused to accept it.”
Hamas produces weapons locally, he continued. “They don’t need... to smuggle weapons. Even if we achieve a cease-fire, it is clear they will use the cease-fire to produce more missiles and to prepare themselves for the next clash.”
Liberman also castigated the international community, stating that other countries were “afraid of reality” and “don’t know how to deal with the current situation.”
However, he continued, while many nations were “not ready” to say that Israel was right, he expected at least “silent support.”
“We have a right to expect from the free world to protect and support Israel [and] to do everything to supply security to our citizens,” he asserted.
Asked about the day after an invasion of Gaza, Liberman responded that while it was “not a real challenge to take control” of the strip, there were certainly considerations to take into account regarding the subsequent governance of the coastal enclave.
Liberman said that one possibility was to implement a policy similar to that in Judea and Samaria, where in response to the second intifada, the IDF retook some territories that had been transferred to Palestinian Authority control.
“After [Operation] Defensive Shield, we destroyed all the infrastructure of terror.
We destroyed their ability to take matters in their hands,” he said, adding that while “there are others answers,” he preferred to “keep them for the cabinet meetings.”
Following Liberman’s remarks, Conference of Presidents Executive Vice President Malcolm Hoenlein said that “the meeting with Foreign Minister Liberman and other Israeli leaders underscored that while Israel is on the front line, this is our battle as well. Hamas targets Israeli cities, but they mean all Jews harm.”
He added that “this is not about territory, but about Israel’s right to exist, the right of Jews to have a state of their own.”