Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Resigns Over Gaza Ceasefire

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By  Trista Youssef

Rabat – Fighting between Israeli and Palestinian forces, which  began on Sunday and ended with a ceasefire on Tuesday night, reached its worst levels since a 50-day war in 2014. The violence started when Palestinian forces fired rockets at Israel in response to a covert Israeli operation that killed seven Palestinians in Gaza.

Two Israelis and at least 14 Palestinians were killed during the violent, two-day-long flare-up.

Although never officially confirmed by the Israeli government, an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire announced by Hamas on Tuesday night is still in place.

Read Also: Israelis and Palestinians Renew a Fragile Ceasefire

Lieberman responded to the Israeli security cabinet’s decision to accept a truce with Gaza as “surrendering to terror.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the truce during a speech, saying: “At these moments, leadership is not about doing the easy thing. Leadership is about doing the right thing, even if it is difficult.”

Lieberman told reporters in Jerusalem on Wednesday: “Despite the difference in opinion, I tried to stay a faithful member of the government for a long as possible…but it has failed.”

Palestinians view the defense minister’s resignation as a political victory. Hamas Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri called Lieberman’s resignation a “recognition of the defeat before the growing force of the Palestinian resistance,” which showed a “state of weakness that has overcome the Israelis.”

Lieberman’s resignation removes the far-right Israel Beitenu party from Netanyahu’s conservative coalition, weakening the prime minister’s position in upcoming elections. The loss of five Israel Beitenu seats gives Netanyahu control over only 61 of 120 parliamentary seats.