Sources close to the defense minister hit back, saying that "Bennett is willing to sacrifice the blood of our soldiers with his recklessness."
"Lieberman chose surrender that will lead to war," Bennett told Ynet's print-publication Yedioth Ahronoth. "His irresolution, and the delusional belief—that talking to Gaza residents will bring down Hamas and bring security to the residents of the Gaza border—are complete nonsense and irresponsible."
"The same Lieberman who declared he would bring down Hamas and eliminate (Hamas leader) Haniyeh is now giving them rewards at the expense of Israel's security," Bennett continued his charge. "The weak policy he's leading under the guise of responsibility and pragmatism has been allowing Hamas to burn the south for 140 days and dictate to the residents there when to run for shelter and when to come out."
"Those who surrender to terrorism, bring terrorism—and Lieberman surrendered. His attitude endangers the State of Israel and will lead to an inevitable conflict under terms Hamas will dictate and at a time of its convenience."
The defense minister's office chose not to respond, but a spokesman for Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu party noted that "The Israeli government's policy is determined by the Cabinet, at least by those who are present in those meetings. He who is willing to sacrifice the blood of our soldiers at the altar of political considerations with his recklessness is unworthy of dealing with issues of defense, and should instead dedicate his time to the opening of the school year, for which he is responsible."
Bennett chose to target the defense minister with his criticism rather than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the security services that support reaching an agreement with Hamas.
The reopening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, for example, was recommended by all security services.
Sources close to Lieberman blamed Bennett of waging a personal political war against him. "He doesn't attack the Cabinet, not the prime minister, not the IDF, and not any of the security services," one source said. "It's completely about the elections."
While the round of talks between Palestinian faction officials on calming tensions with Israel and on implementing a reconciliation deal signed between Hamas and Fatah at the end of last year concluded in Cairo over the weekend, disagreements remained on the former issue.
Now, the announcement on a ceasefire is expected to be delayed but at least a week as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who opposes any agreement that doesn't include him, insisted this weekend that any aid to the Gaza Strip must go through the Palestinian Authority.
Speaking at the closing session of the Palestinian Central Council meeting, Abbas said that "There is no state in Gaza nor an autonomy in the West Bank, and we will not accept this. We will never accept the separation of Gaza (from the West Bank)."
"Either we take control of authority as it is in Gaza and the West Bank—with one state, one system, one law and one weapon—or they (Hamas) takes control instead (in Gaza)," he said.
"Reconciliation for us does not mean a truce, ceasefire or humanitarian assistance. Reconciliation means that unity should be reinstated," Abbas added.