Lieberman: Gaza ceasefire is not in Israel’s interests

FM says Hamas “took advantage of quiet to smuggle more weapons”; Landau: We must exploit Hamas’s fear of losing control in Gaza.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke out against a ceasefire with Hamas on Monday morning, following renewed violence emanating from the Gaza Strip in the past four days.

In an interview with Israel Radio, he said, “Hamas is fighting a war of attrition against us. We won’t come to terms with a situation in which they decide when there’s quiet and when the area heats up.”

Lieberman added that a ceasefire with Hamas is against Israel’s national interests. He said he is working to implement the coalition agreement, which says that the government will work towards overthrowing Hamas.

“We are going to do what was agreed upon. We know how to get what was in the agreement and what we signed with Likud, without threats and and without crises,” he said on Israel Radio, adding that he is not interested in leaving the coalition.

“There was quiet, and Hamas took advantage of the quiet in order to smuggle more and more weapons. We remember when Kassams only had a range of 20 k.m.; today they reach Beersheba and Ashdod and in the end they’ll reach Tel Aviv,” Lieberman explained.

The foreign minister went on to say that Hamas has exploited the two years of relative calm since 2008-9’s Operation Cast Lead to rearm and organize. “Hamas took advantage of the quiet in order to gain power and turn a gang of terrorists into an organized army,” Lieberman said, warning that with “another [military] battalion and another company and they will truly follow Hezbollah’s model.”

National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, also of Israel Beiteinu, echoed Lieberman’s calls to use force in order to deter Hamas, saying that “We should have finished the job during Operation Cast Lead.”

Landau opined that the IDF needs to play on Hamas’s fear of losing power and influence amongst the Palestinian population. “If we really want to deter Hamas, we must exploit their fear of losing control in the strip,” Landau said. He added, “our targets need to be their leaders.”

(www.jpost.com / 11.04.2011)

 

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