Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman addresses a town hall meeting in Beersheba.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
With election day just over a month away, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman intensified his rhetoric on Saturday, lashing out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what he perceives as the premier’s failure to deal a strong enough blow to Hamas during this past summer’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.
“During my appearance at town hall meeting in Beersheba this morning, I said that during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge, the citizens of Israel sought cover in bomb shelters and fought,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page. “What was the result of this? Hamas continues to shoot.”
“I talked about what needed to be done during the operation and afterward. If it was up to the leaders of Hamas, we wouldn’t have emerged from the shelters after 50 days. Instead, we would still be underground – in coffins.”
Liberman, along with Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, was one of the more vocal critics of the prosecution of Operation Protective Edge. He called for the military to topple Hamas, while Netanyahu and his defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, pursued a plan that would weaken the Islamist movement, but leave it in power.
“It is inconceivable that we bury 70 of our soldiers and civilians and treat thousands of our wounded while the state is paralyzed,” the foreign minister wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday. “My opinion was unequivocal, and I stated it at the time. Another go-around with Hamas is just a matter of time, and a normal country would not accept such a scenario.”
The Yisrael Beytenu chief said that if it were up to him, Israel would “alter the balance of terror” against Hamas in its favor.
“It is simply unfathomable that every two years we need to conduct another military operation,” he said. “If we want to change this so that we can live here in quiet, we need to alter the balance of terror vis-à-vis our enemies. We need to make clear to them that whoever acts against us won’t find themselves in an underground bunker but in an underground grave. After the Hezbollah attack, we should’ve responded the way the Jordanians did against Islamic State.”
Liberman also used the town hall platform in Beersheba to repeat his assertion that Arab citizens of Israel seek to end the Zionist project in the Middle East. He said that “a regional” solution is needed to address these matters.
“The merger of the Arab parties into one slate exposed them for what they are,” he said. “Today, it is clear to all that they have one goal in mind: destroy the State of Israel. The issue of Israeli Arabs and their attitudes toward the state has become a real problem. So we need a comprehensive regional solution that will solve all of these issues that we are dealing with in one package deal [encompassing] the Arab states, the Palestinians, and the Arabs of Israel.”
“To aim solely for a bilateral pact with the Palestinians is insanity,” Liberman said. “Our job is to take care of the Jews, not the Palestinians, so we need to resolve all of these problems at the same time.”