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Israeli Intelligence Minister Calls for ‘Civilian Separation’ from Gaza

Israeli Intelligence Minister Calls for ‘Civilian Separation’ from Gaza

Monday, 27 August, 2018 - 12:00
Palestinian children in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighborhood. (AFP file photo)

Israeli Intelligence Yisrael Katz criticized on Sunday Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman for saying that he has “nothing to do” with any talks on a long-term ceasefire agreement with Hamas in Gaza. He claimed Lieberman is being untruthful about not being involved in truce talks with the Palestinian group.

Katz said on a radio show that the defense minister said he is not involved in the truce and “all Israeli citizens should feel bad if that is the announcement that was made. The issue of Gaza requires thought and decisions.”

He indicated that he does not need to leak from cabinet meetings that the defense minister is involved in what’s happening, asserting: “Of course he’s involved.”

Katz called for a strategic decision on how to relinquish civil responsibility for Gaza. He noted that the security cabinet has not heard a single proposal to overthrow Hamas for the last three years.

On Friday, speaking during a visit to Israeli communities in the Gaza periphery, Lieberman said he is not involved with and does not believe in an accord with Hamas.

“I’m not involved in the issue of an accord, I don’t believe in it. The only accord is the reality on the ground.”

Lieberman’s denial also appeared to contradict the assertions of Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heavily criticized the defense minister for what he has seen as a faulty strategy in Gaza and has vowed to oppose any accord with Hamas.

Lieberman said that Israel would do all it takes to ensure calm for communities near Gaza.

“First and foremost we want calm on the security front. If we decide there’s no choice and we need to launch a military operation, we’ll do what needs to be done. We’ll set the time and we’ll set the terms.”

Lieberman noted that the Palestinian group’s main goal is the destruction of Israel, so “I don’t think we have anything to talk about with Hamas. The only thing we’re saying through the Egyptians and through others and they understand this [is] there will be no movement and no new agreements…until there is a solution on the captives and missing persons.”

Egypt, which is working to resume the talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, is trying to persuade Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to participate. However, Abbas is unhappy with the agreement between Israel and Hamas because he sees in them their approval of the United States’ so-called “deal of the century.”

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