Binyamin Netanyahu faces Israeli cabinet crisis as Avigdor Lieberman quits over ceasefire

Pauline Gross
November 14, 2018

Many Arab journalists covered the events in and around Gaza, with many of them - especially in Egypt, which was instrumental in brokering a reported ceasefire Tuesday - authoring "very hostile reports about Israel, which they see as an enemy".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the ceasefire decision, saying that "in times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can't always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy".

Four Israeli ministers, however, have announced their opposition to the deal, including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Avigdor Lieberman announced he was stepping down during a press conference less than 24 hours after Israel and terror group Hamas agreed to the pact.

Kuwait and Bolivia meanwhile requested an urgent closed-door meeting later on Tuesday of the UN Security Council to discuss the violence, diplomats said.

More than 460 rockets have been fired into Israel by militants since Monday night, while Israeli aircraft have hit 160 militant targets in response.

Hamas and other Palestinian factions responded by shooting about 300 rockets toward southern Israeli towns near the border.

Why it matters: The escalating violence risked wrecking weeks of delicate diplomacy between Israel and Hamas as well as regional powers such as Egypt and Qatar aimed at lowering tensions in the Gaza Strip.

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov called the escalation "extremely dangerous" and said on Twitter that "restraint must be shown by all". The operation "was not meant to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security", an Israeli spokesperson said.

The fierce clashes came after a botched undercover Israeli raid that left one Hamas commander, six fellow fighters and an Israeli officer dead, after the group's fighters discovered Israeli special forces in a civilian auto near the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis.

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Two of the deceased Palestinians were identified as members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant group and the third as a member of Islamic Jihad's armed wing.

For years, Hamas has launched rockets at southern Israeli communities. An Israeli soldier was severely wounded.

Missile defences intercepted more than 100 rockets from Gaza and most others fell in open areas, though some hit houses and other civilian structures. "Bibi go home", one sign read.

The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days "on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation", including "recommendations regarding an worldwide protection mechanism".

He also said the riots at the Gaza border will continue during the cease-fire.

"What happened was like an natural disaster", said Abu Ayman Lemzeni, who lives near the targeted TV building. Israel says it is defending its border against attackers, but it has come under heavy worldwide criticism for shooting unarmed people. Hamas, in turn, had scaled back its mass protests that have led to weekly bloodshed along the Israeli border.

Israel said the covert operation was an intelligence-gathering mission.

In a statement on Wednesday, Hamas called Lieberman's resignation a "victory for Gaza".

The agreement came after at least 14 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks in the blockaded Gaza Strip since Sunday after rocket fire from the seaside territory.

Other reports by GizPress

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