A masked Palestinian boy holds a toy gun as he takes part in a rally marking the 28th anniversary of Hamas' founding.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former foreign minister and leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party MK Avigdor Liberman said on Saturday that Israel is negotiating with Hamas by way of intermediaries Egypt and Nikolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
"Israel has passed dozens of messages to Hamas in order to buy quiet, hoping that the problem will rest with the shift that comes after it," Liberman charged at a cultural event in Beersheba.
Liberman said that the government has adopted a faulty diplomatic approach.
"It [the government] allows Hamas to continue to build terror infrastructure and forces so that it [Hamas] can embark on a military campaign at its convenience. If everyone is saying that the next confrontation with Hamas is inevitable, why are we allowing Hamas to become stronger? So they can set out to battle and be more comfortable?" he asked
Liberman said the government policy was "limp and defeated."
"This is a leadership that is not built for and is not able, mentally, to deal with the challenges that it is facing on a daily basis. It is a government that is indecisive and is afraid of fighting terror. Terrorism must be defeated, not tolerated," he said.
On recent reports of future plans to build a sea-port in Gaza, Liberman said that Hamas only wants it so it can have an "uncontrolled point of entry for rockets, missiles, and other weapons and create a reality similar to Hezbollah's presence in southern Lebanon."
While serving as foreign minister during the Gaza War in the summer of 2014, Liberman urged the government to topple Hamas and pave the way for a moderate leadership to take the reigns in the Palestinian enclave.
At the time, Liberman warned against a Hamas-run Gaza, saying that the Palestinian organization was no different than the other Islamic terrorist groups threatening the region, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
In response to Liberman's accusations Saturday, the Likud party released a statement mocking his comments, calling him a "small politician and chatterbox" who is not qualified to make military decisions.
"Liberman is trying to change his career from failed political commentator to military commentator, a position he is not qualified for," the statement begins.
Liberman is "a man who has never led one soldier into the battlefield, and has never had to make a military decision during an operation."
Therefor, if he is not qualified give advice about military matters "he should just stay a small politician and chatterbox who insists on giving his opinion to those who are responsible for running the country," the Likud statement added.