Avigdor Liberman: Netanyahu personally torpedoed my plans for Gaza

Avi Dichter: "We have to destroy the military infrastructure in Gaza, and it will not be by a political move or only by airstrikes."

Avigdor Liberman speaks at a Maariv conference, March 27th, 2019 (photo credit: ALONI MOR)
Avigdor Liberman speaks at a Maariv conference, March 27th, 2019
(photo credit: ALONI MOR)
Former Defense Minister MK Avigdor Liberman said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally torpedoed plans to strike Gaza during a significant escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas in November.
“Netanyahu personally torpedoed the plans,” the Chairman of Yisrael Beytenu told Ben Caspit at the Maariv Security Conference on Wednesday. “We have enough tools to deal with Gaza and I had a full plan.”
Liberman resigned from his post as defense minister in November following a ceasefire deal signed between Israel and Hamas after over 500 rockets were fired towards southern Israeli communities.
The ceasefire with Hamas, he said at the time “cannot be interpreted in any way other than a capitulation to terrorism. This will severely harm our security in the long run. The response that we gave to the 500 rockets shot from Gaza was not enough, to say the least. The South should come first. Our weakness is being broadcast to other fronts.”
On Sunday the latest escalation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip saw over 100 mortars and rockets fired towards southern Israeli communities, and that, Liberman said, shows that Israel does not have security.
“Security is when people don’t have to run to bomb shelters,” he told Ben Caspit, adding that Israel is paying protection money to terror groups instead of destroying it.
“There’s no terror without money and now Israel is allowing money into Gaza for Hamas. We are paying protection to a terror organization and doing everything not to get the terror organization mad. Netanyahu said he said he struck Hamas hard, but not even one terrorist was even hurt,” he said.
Former deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who also spoke at the conference, told the crowd that Israel’s military has been doing the same thing over and over and over again, allowing the enemy to learn.
“For the past 30 years the IDF has been acting pretty much the same and the enemy has learnt. When you are able to know how the war is going to play out, you know how deal it and how to take the blows,” he said.
In the last round of violence between Israel and Hamas, a civilian home in central Israel was destroyed by a long-range rocket launched from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and close to 100 rockets and mortars were fired to communities in the south.
“Imagine 60 rockets in Tel Aviv or Gush Dan or Jerusalem,” Liberman said. “Nobody would stand for it!”
According to Liberman, “peace will come with the Messiah, not before. There’s no way we can have peace with the Arabs around us...peace like in Finland or Canada. That won’t happen. We have to understand where we are, and who we are surrounded by.”
Also speaking at the conference, MK Avi Dichter, current Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that the Israeli homefront cannot be turned into a front.
“The homefront is facing threats from the north, south and the west--first it was Iraq but now it’s Iran.”
According to Dichter, who reminded the crowd of the Park Hotel bombing in Netanya in 2002, Israel must do an operation similar to Operation Defense Shield which saw reservists, troops and heavy weaponry deep into the hearts of six major Palestinian cities, surrounding towns and West Bank refugee camps to wipe out Hamas and other terror groups.
“Today, when the military enters Gaza, it will have significantly better capabilities than the Second Lebanon War. But in the end, when you embark on such a campaign, you want to ensure the safety of the soldiers,” he said. “Terror always has a bottom. In order to dry out terror, we must reach the critical mass. You have to kill thousands, arrest thousands more, and the rest will disperse.”
But, he said, “The reality in Gaza is that the group has terror infrastructures with military capabilities, and this is a very problematic situation. We have to destroy the military infrastructure in Gaza, and it will not be by a political move or only by airstrikes."