Liberman: When I am defense minister, Hamas won't build, they'll hide

Yisrael Beytenu chief says that destroying Hamas must be the next government's top priority.

March 16, 2015 18:55
2 minute read.
Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman addresses a town hall meeting in Beersheba

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman addresses a town hall meeting in Beersheba. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman expressed confidence that he will be the next defense minister, flexing muscles at Hamas while at the Gaza border town of Nativ Ha’asara Monday, called for change and saying that destroying Hamas must be the next government’s top priority.

“I am sure I will be defense minister, and if I am defense minister [Hamas] won’t be able to rebuild [attack] tunnels, they’ll have to dig holes to hide in,” he warned.

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Liberman said that from Nativ Ha’asara, people can see armed Hamas terrorists are building fortifications and “not even hiding.”

“Apparently, they understood that we had weak leadership that didn’t know how to defeat them, which is why they’re allowing themselves to build fortifications, rockets and tunnels in front of us,” he remarked.

The Yisrael Beytenu leader said that, although he was in the security cabinet during Operation Protective Edge and Hamas was not eliminated in the fighting, his stance was consistent before, during and after – that Hamas must be destroyed.

“The government must promise the residents [of Gaza border towns], who for the last six years experienced three military operations and rockets, that the fourth round will be the last,” he stated, adding in the third person: “In order for it to be the last round, Liberman has to be defense minister. Otherwise, we’ll have a fifth round.”

As for whether he will recommend that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue as premier for another term or that Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog replace him, Liberman did not commit but said people should look at the precedent.

He recounted that, in 2009, Kadima was the largest party and Likud trailed by one seat. Yisrael Beytenu got 15 seats and recommended Likud, which helped Netanyahu clinch the premiership.

“It’s important to me that the next coalition really be nationalist and not weak. The last government released thousands of terrorists and didn’t give an order to destroy Hamas. They didn’t know how to deal with the challenges here. That won’t happen again. We will demand the defense portfolio to make sure it won’t,” he said.

“It’s immoral to reach agreements with terrorist organizations. That is the antithesis of what we preach. We can’t tell the world not to compromise and fight terrorism and then have agreements under the table with terrorists.

“We can only sign an agreement with Hamas when all of their leaders are buried underground.”

On Monday morning, a senior party source shrugged off concerns that the party may not pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold, saying “We could close our campaign right now and still get six seats,” though he expects much more. The party polled at an average of 5.3 seats in last week’s surveys.

Also Monday, Liberman posted a video on Facebook in which he speaks like comedian Asi Cohen’s impression of him on the satirical TV show Eretz Nehederet.

“Boom! Liberman!” a voiceover exclaims in the video.

Liberman knocks on the screen and says, “Don’t sleep! Vote Yisrael Beytenu” Then, with a play on the meaning of the satirical program’s name, he adds: “Because we have a wonderful country.”

The caption for the video reads: “Tomorrow we go to vote, and watch out for imitations.”

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