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Former Israeli Defense Minister: Netanyahu Rejected Proposal to Assassinate Hamas Leaders

Former Israeli Defense Minister: Netanyahu Rejected Proposal to Assassinate Hamas Leaders

Monday, 11 March, 2019 - 12:15
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Reuters file photo)

Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman revealed that he had repeatedly suggested a plan to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assassinate senior members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, however, he rejected them all.

Speaking before a group of his supporters on Saturday, Lieberman recalled that in July of last year he presented his offer to the prime minister, but the he refused once again.

He accused Netanyahu of neglecting the real security issue, saying the PM must explain his insistence “on strengthening Hamas and neglecting the security situation on the northern front.”

He predicted that within two years, the situation on the northern and southern fronts would be “very complex and more dangerous” than the October 1973, warning of the security chaos on both fronts.

He went on to say that Hamas is developing hundreds of missiles that will hit Tel Aviv and that the Palestinian movement was still producing precision rockets.

The government is meanwhile allowing Qataris to pump in more funds into Gaza to Hamas, Lieberman said. It will deliver a “few million” this week.

“Whoever says he knows where their money is going is speaking nonsense,” he added.

The electricity supply has increased and fishing zone has been expanded by 12 miles and “we have not accomplished a thing. No Israeli soldier or detainee has been released,” he went on to say.

Lieberman’s opponents in the far-right had previously accused him of reneging on his electoral promises when he was in the opposition.

He had vowed to assassinate Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh within the first 48 hour of his term as defense minister, but when he took office he succumbed to the army's will and no longer discussed the issue.

Netanyahu addressed this issue during his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

He said: “We have recently seen provocations and heads being raised from the direction of the Gaza Strip.”

“This has been done by dissidents, but this does not absolve Hamas. Hamas is responsible for everything that comes out of the Gaza Strip and we respond accordingly, with assaults by air force planes against Hamas targets.”

The prime minister also indicated that some people in Gaza are saying that a wide-range operation will probably not happen since Israel is preparing for elections.

“I suggest to Hamas – don’t count on it. We will do everything necessary to restore security and calm to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and to the south in general.”

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