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Netanyahu Must Resign
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on April 20, 2021. (Koby Gideon/GPO)

Netanyahu Must Resign

Ma’ariv, Israel, May 15

A complete loss of deterrence, order, security, governance and the collapse of governmental systems as we have seen in the last week is unprecedented. But the writing was on the wall. As early as 2009, I came out with a clear message and warned of the exact scenario in which we live today: mass riots and clashes between Jews and Arabs within the country. I also explained that where there is a conflict between two peoples, criminal terrorism is bound to become nationalist terrorism. But then, of course, I was attacked for my lack of political correctness and was accused of being a “racist” and “fascist” Russian, among other things. What is happening today is that those gangs from cities like Lod or Bedouin clans in the south are becoming more nationalistic and identify with Hamas and other Palestinian extremist groups. And the pyromaniacs can be found on both sides: people like Bezalel Smotrich and his gang rivaling extremists like Raed Salah and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement. Neither side skips an opportunity to fuel the flames. Instead of backing and strengthening those who are loyal to the state, the Netanyahu government tries to please the extremists and abandon our friends and allies. This is true both internally and externally. All those who linked their fate to ours were abandoned and paid the price: King Abdullah (the great-grandfather of the current King Abdullah), Anwar Sadat, Bachir Gemayel, Issam Sartawi – all were murdered. Even with Hamas, the policy pursued by Binyamin Netanyahu is “peace for money” – a lot of money. What started at $7 million after 500 rockets in November 2018 has now turned into 1,500 rockets and $30 million a month. And it’s not just a matter of silence but also of tacit agreement to the continued intensification of Hamas and its evolution from a terrorist organization into a full-fledged army, with brigades, battalions, bases, and independent weapons production capabilities. In my resignation [from the office of defense minister] on November 14, 2018, after the adoption of Netanyahu’s settlement policy by the cabinet, I said that a so-called “cease-fire” is a laundering of words that actually means surrender to terrorism. I explained that I could not continue to look at the faces of those who live in the south and are subject to never-ending rocket attacks. So how does Netanyahu today allow himself to look into the eyes of the citizens of Israel after the loss of deterrence, sovereignty, and governance? Unfortunately, since my resignation, the side dictating the agenda has been Hamas. Israel is just being dragged and reacting. Hamas determines when the conflict begins, when it ends, and under what conditions.  Netanyahu is afraid of harming the senior echelon of the Hamas movement – those who give the orders to launch missiles at the State of Israel. In addition, he is afraid to raise the most legitimate demands, such as financial aid and the cessation of hostilities solely in exchange for disarmament and the return of the captive Israeli soldiers. The current operation has no strategic purpose or defined goals. The State of Israel must define what our end game against the Gaza Strip is, and how it will realize it. This is a discussion that Netanyahu stubbornly refuses to hold in the cabinet. The political situation is also a direct result of Netanyahu’s basic approach: If I go down, everyone must go down with me. Any reasonable person, after four election campaigns in which he failed to form a functioning government, after more than a decade in power, after the disaster on Mount Meron, after the disgrace in the current confrontation with Hamas, and after the difficult riots within Israel, would stand up and resign. He would allow the Likud movement to form a right-wing government with a different figurehead. Effortlessly and without rotation. But Netanyahu took the State of Israel hostage to his personal survival. Therefore, the man endangers our very existence and leads us to doom. In addition, I suggest to every citizen in Israel to ask themselves: If this is our situation with Hamas, then what is our situation vis-à-vis Hizbullah or Iran? Mr. Prime Minister, it’s time for you to go! –Avigdor Liberman, member of Knesset and chairman of the Yisrael Beitenu party (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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