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Israeli defense minister quits amid Gaza ceasefire in blow to Netanyahu

Israeli defense minister quits amid Gaza ceasefire in blow to Netanyahu

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday (Nov 14) in protest at a Gaza ceasefire that he called a "capitulation to terror", weakening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition government.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he was one of those who opposed the decision and Israeli media reported that he might announce his resignation. "What we are in effect doing is buying short term quiet [in Gaza] and the price will be hard for [Israel's] security in the long term".

Lieberman's Yisrael Beteinu party also pulled out of the ruling coalition led by Netanyahu, demanding fresh elections. In a press conference, Liberman accused Netanyahu and his allies of surrendering to terrorism by agreeing to a cease-fire with Hamas and called for early elections as soon as next February.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday over an Egyptian and United Nations brokered ceasefire agreement, saying that it was "surrender to terrorism". "But in times of crisis, when making critical decisions in the field of security, the public can not always be a partner in the crucial considerations that must be concealed from the enemy".

The groups, including Hamas, said in a statement on Tuesday they would abide by the ceasefire as long as Israel did the same.

Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has urged the government to strike a harsh blow against Gaza's Hamas rulers, quit after the security cabinet made a decision to accept a truce halting a two-day flare-up of fighting in Gaza.

Inside Gaza, people handed out candy and other treats in celebration of Liberman's stepping down. In Israel, a 48-year-old Palestinian laborer was killed in a rocket strike on an apartment building where he was staying.

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Israeli airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza in an escalation not seen here since 2014.

The battle - the largest since the 2014 Gaza war - ended on Tuesday evening with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, which hasn't been formally recognized by Israeli officials.

Palestinians in Gaza look on at the remains of the Yaziji building in Gaza City, following air strikes by the Israeli Air Force. The blockade has ravaged Gaza's economy, and Israel refuses to lift it unless Hamas disarms, a demand rejected by militant group, which is pledged to Israel's destruction.

He rushed to defend his decision as criticism mounted and residents in southern Israel protested the ceasefire, with many clamouring for a new offensive in the besieged Strip to stop rocket fire that had been provoked by a botched undercover Israeli operation that left seven Palestinians and an Israeli officer dead.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian was shot and captured by the Israeli military after being discovered hurling grenades across a perimeter fence. Several homes were hit and the military said Israel's Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted more than 100 rockets and mortar bombs.

A wounded protester is evacuated during a demonstration near the border between Israeli-occupied territories and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 9, 2018.


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