Liberman: Israel can't ensure safety of citizens in the South as long as Hamas rules Gaza

FM says Israel mustn't make diplomatic agreement with Hamas; National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen says PA could potentially take over in Gaza.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A day after Israel agreed to a cease-fire seemingly putting an end to Operation Protection Edge, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel must not, under any circumstances, agree to a diplomatic deal with Hamas.
"As long as Hamas controls Gaza, we won't be able to ensure the safety of Israel's citizens in the South and we won't be able to make a peace agreement," he wrote on his Facebook page.
Liberman said Hamas was neither a partner for a diplomatic agreement nor for a security agreement.
"It is impossible and forbidden to trust lowly murderers. Therefore, we are against a cease-fire that allows Hamas to rearm and wage another battle against Israel whenever it finds it comfortable," the foreign minister said.
He said both the tunnel threat and the rocket threat would remain as long as the rule of Hamas was not overthrown in Gaza.
Liberman said Hamas must not be given a diplomatic achievement following Operation Protective Edge.
"A real peace process and a strategic breakthrough will only be possible after we succeed in freeing the Middle East and the Palestinians from the threat of Hamas (and no one else will do so in our place), " he wrote.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, said the Palestinian Authority could return to power in the Gaza Strip at Hamas's expense following the operation.
Speaking in an interview with Army Radio, Cohen, who also once served as the deputy chief of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), said our victims did not die in vain; I think that a situation has been created that gives us the potential for a new reality and for a new diplomatic horizon."
Cohen told the radio station that the international community had come to the understanding that the status quo in Gaza  is untenable. "Therefore in Gaza they won't get a seaport unless they agree to be demilitarized...they won't get a single screw unless we are assured that it won't be used to help Hamas rearm," he said.
Cohen posited that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas understands the alternative that Israel is going to suggest: as long as Hamas continues to be defined a terrorist organization, it must be demilitarized.
He said Hamas had been "completely defeated" during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge and would continue to get significantly weaker in the coming months.
"This organization came out of the current crisis with nothing to show, nothing,"  Cohen said.
As part of the cease-fire deal agreed to on Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority is expected to take over responsibility for administering Gaza's borders from Hamas.
Israel and Egypt hope it will ensure weapons, ammunition and any "dual-use" goods are prevented from entering Gaza. They also expect tight monitoring of imports of construction materials like cement and cast iron to make sure they are used to rebuild or build homes rather than tunnels that have been used to attack Israel.
The deal also reportedly stipulates that the Palestinian Authority will lead coordination of the reconstruction effort in Gaza with international donors, including the European Union, Qatar, Turkey and Norway.
Reuters contributed to this report.