Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Netanyahu government in disarray as right demands invasion

Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet was in disarray as the Israeli prime minister came under fire from several of his most senior ministers for his handling of the crisis in Gaza.

The storm of public criticism from his own ranks resulted in the sacking on Tuesday night of the deputy defence minister, Danny Danon, a member of Netanyahu's own Likud party.

Danon told media on Tuesday that Hamas had humiliated Israel by setting conditions for peace, after Netanyahu said he was willing to accept the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. Hamas claimed that it had not been consulted over the ceasefire conditions and rejected it.

"At a time when … Israel and the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] are in the midst of a military campaign against the terrorist organizations and taking determined action to maintain the security of Israel's citizens, it cannot be that the deputy defence minister will sharply attack the leadership of the country regarding the campaign," Netanyahu said in a statement on Tuesday.

"These sharp remarks on the deputy defence minister's part are irresponsible, especially given his position. They also serve the Hamas terrorist organisation as a tool to attack the government with."

The divisions within the Israeli cabinet have been mocked by Hamas, with spokesman Fauzi Barhoum calling the Danon sacking a "victory for the resistance".

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's hawkish foreign minister, split his Yisrael Beiteinu party from Likud – dismantling a critical alliance for Netanyahu – having accused the prime minister of hesitation over a ground invasion of Gaza.

Lieberman also criticised the government for accepting an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Tuesday and called for an IDF ground assault and occupation of the Gaza Strip, arguing that a ceasefire would allow Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups to replenish their stock of weapons. more


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