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Photo: Motti Kimchi
Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Lieberman locks horns with Netanyahu over Lebanon response
Foreign minister slams PM's decision not to further respond to Hezbollah attack, saying that 'containing' attack would mean allowing Hezbollah to build its strength on Israel's border with Syria as well.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision not to further response to the Hezbollah attack that claimed the lives of two IDF soldiers, saying on Thursday that "'containing' the incident means that Israel is accepting these 'rules of the game' and their cost. This causes serious damage to Israel's deterrence."

 

 

The Yisrael Beytenu leader said it was time to "take the gloves off" when dealing with terror organization. Lieberman on Wednesday called for a "non-proportional response" to the attack, which also saw 7 soldiers wounded.

 

FM Lieberman and PM Netanyahu (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
FM Lieberman and PM Netanyahu (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

  

In response the Likud said "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu manages Israel's security policy together with the defense minister and IDF chief of staff and is not influenced by irresponsible suggestions."

 

"Such issues are discussed far away from the public's eye, and certainly not on Facebook," a statement from the party said.

 

According to Lieberman, Israel is allowing Hezbollah to dictate the events: "Those who say we need to 'contain' the incident and wait are saying that in actuality, Israel is allowing Hezbollah to build its strength on our border with Syria as well and bring terrorists and large amounts of deadly weapons (there) so they can act against us from there at any given moment," he wrote Thursday on his Facebook page.

 

Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, he said, was the exact opposite example of how to achieve and maintain deterrence against terror organizations. "It was just this week that we saw the rocket experiments Hamas held, and in the weeks before that we saw the Hamas parades in which they presented the advanced weapons they're building to use against Israel. This is not deterrence, it's turning a blind eye.

 

"It was exactly this result that I objected to during Protective Edge and today we see how after years that Hezbollah was truly deterred because of the blow it suffered from Israel in the Second Lebanon War, now there are cracks in this deterrence because of what Hezbollah saw happening in Protective Edge," Lieberman added.

 

He warned that if Israel fails to respond to the attack properly now, “this perception will only grow stronger and becomes rooted for the terror organizations that Israel doesn’t act decisively against terrorism. Even they know that words and declarations do not defeat terrorism, only strong and decisive action that causes the infrastructure of terror to crumble.

 

“A ‘proportional response according to the rules of the game’ is exactly what the terrorists want, because it drags us into a war of attrition and perpetuates the conflict. A ‘proportional’ response means the leaders of the terror organizations know they have immunity, that they are not going to be overthrown, that we’re not hurting their armament, that we allow them to continue recruiting and training new terrorists. This is what is happening in Gaza today and it’s only a matter of time until they use all of these capabilities and drag Israel into another military operation, at a time of their convenience.”

 

Lieberman noted that on Wednesday, Israel was forced to once again shut down airports – in Haifa and Rosh Pina – close roads and tourist sites and disrupt the daily lives of many Israelis.

 

“Those who want to contain this situation agree to allow terror organizations to hold onto the on-off switch for the daily lives of the citizens of Israel. We must not allow it. The citizens of the south, the citizens of the north and the citizens of Tel Aviv and the center cannot be held hostage to the terrorists’ whims, and neither can the state of Israel. Israel does not have the option of being weak against terror. We must be strong and do whatever is necessary, even if it’s hard, because it later becomes harder.”

 

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