Lieberman: Cabinet decision 1st step in eradicating Hamas
Says he is happy operative steps were taken, unlike previous cabinet meetings.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
May 21, 2007 00:02
(photo credit: )
Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed satisfaction with the security cabinet's decision on Sunday to target Hamas terrorists and act to prevent the launching of Kassam rockets.
The decision was an important first step toward eradicating Hamas, Lieberman told his associates. He said he was glad that unlike last Sunday's cabinet meeting, this time operative steps were authorized.
Earlier Sunday, Lieberman issued a veiled threat that his Israel Beiteinu faction could leave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition if the security cabinet did not act to destroy Hamas.
"Either dismantle Hamas or the government should be dismantled," Lieberman told Israel Radio. "I am not issuing an ultimatum, but in the end, that's the choice - completely dismantling Hamas or the government. The time has come to stop making bombastic statements and take difficult actions."
Lieberman made similar statements in the security cabinet meeting. But he made clear he was not threatening to leave the government.
Sources close to Olmert downplayed Lieberman's remarks, saying the coalition remained stable.
But Likud officials expressed satisfaction with Lieberman's statement, calling it an indication he was starting to recognize he will eventually have no choice but to leave the government.