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Israel: Defence Minister Lieberman resigns over Gaza ceasefire

Avigdor Lieberman announces resignation in protest against Gaza ceasefire with Hamas, making early elections likely.

    Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Wednesday that he was resigning from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in protest against a Gaza truce.

    Announcing his decision, which takes effect 48 hours after he puts it in writing, Lieberman deemed Tuesday’s Egyptian-mediated ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza “a capitulation to terror”.

    “Despite the difference in opinion, I tried to stay a faithful member of the government for as long as possible … but it has failed,” Lieberman said.

    “From my point of view there are two critical points that made it impossible for me to carry,” he added, referring to $15m that Qatar send to the Gaza Strip to pay out salaries to Palestinians, many of whom had not been paid for months.

    “The $15m dollar that went into the Gaza Strip taken in suitcases from Qatar … what would happen with the money after it has gone across the border, it’s not clear at all. … It went to the families of the terrorists who fought on the border with Israeli soldiers throwing grenades.

    “These families are the first who are going to receive part of this $15m – in other words we are … giving terrorists money,” Lieberman said.

    “The second point is regarding the ceasefire … I understand all of the reasons and all of the information [behind the decision], but I would not be able to look in the eyes of the people … who are within the range of Hamas, who are taken prisoners by Hamas. Hamas has to understand that nobody should go close to the frontier.”

    More soon…

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