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'Suppress Hamas regime.' Lieberman
Photo: George Ginsburg
Lieberman: Ceasefires are deathtraps
Rightist parties slam cabinet's decision to declare unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, say Hamas will continue to arm itself. Kadima officials: If fighting resumes we must consider postponing elections

Senior Likud officials said Saturday night that the party intends to officially criticize the cabinet's decision to suspend the IDF's offensive in Gaza.

 

Likud, which is leading in the polls just 22 days ahead of the general elections, plans to accentuate the IDF's achievements in contrast to the "political echelon's failures".

 

"We assume Hamas will continue to arm itself, and we will find ourselves in another conflict with the organization in the near future after it has obtained long-range rockets," one Likud official said.

 

However, at this point the party is not expected to incorporate the issue into its official election campaign and will await further developments in Gaza and south Israel.

 

Likud Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz said in response to cabinet's decision on a unilateral ceasefire, "I fear that the main objectives of the IDF operation in Gaza have not been met."

"It is not clear what mechanism will prevent the arms smuggling into Gaza or why we can rely on Egypt," he said.

 

'Israel will have to respond'

Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said, "Past experience shows us that ceasefires become deathtraps. The nation is lending its support, the residents of the south are standing firm, and only the government is preventing the IDF from finishing the job.

 

"Israel must take control over Rafah and the Philadelphi Route and suppress Hamas' regime," the rightist MK said.

 

The Meretz party lauded cabinet's decision to suspend the offensive, saying it was "correct – if overdue," but Knesset Member Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) said the unilateral truce was a "publicity stunt meant to reduce international pressure."

 

"The conflict is not with the US or Egypt, so any understandings with those countries are irrelevant. The war is with Hamas, and the challenge is to achieve peace with enemies, not allies," he said.

 

Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel said the ceasefire must be given a chance, but added "Israel will have to respond to the continued attacks emanating from Gaza."

 

Meanwhile, senior officials from the ruling Kadima party said that Israel will have to consider the possibility of postponing the general elections should the fighting in Gaza resume.

 

Amnon Meranda, Eli Senyor, Sharon Roffe-Ofir and Yael Branovsky contributed to the report 

 

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