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Liberman: IDF Operation Should 'Go All the Way', Retake Gaza

Foreign Minister says Israel should take advantage of Hamas's rejection of ceasefire agreement to decisively defeat them.
By Hezki Ezra and Ari Soffer
First Publish: 7/15/2014, 5:22 PM

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman repeated his calls for Israel to retake the Gaza Strip Tuesday, stating that Operation Protective Edge should not stop until the entire territory is under full Israeli control.

"We returned every last meter to the '67 lines in the Gaza Strip," said Liberman, referring to the 2005 Disengagement Plan, during which the entire Jewish community of Gaza was expelled. "We evacuated all the settlements and all the residents and handed it over to Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]."

In response, Israel received a massive escalation in the intensity and range of rocket fire against civilians in southern and even central Israel, as Hamas took control in Gaza.

"What do we do now?" he asked rhetorically. "Can we just go back to the normal routine?"

"We need to end the operation (only) once the IDF controls the entire Gaza Strip. There is no other way than this to deal with terror."

Referring to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire proposal - which was rejected by Hamas - Liberman said that even if the Islamist group and its allies eventually changed their minds and accepted it, such an arrangement would simply ensure the next round of fighting in the near future, as occurred after ceasefires in 2009 and 2012.

"This ceasefire will, all in all, be a preparation for the next round. Hamas will continue to launch rockets and explosives" at some point, he said.

The foreign minister asserted that every ceasefire agreement simply amounted to "an agreement to (remain) silent as Hamas continues to expand its weapons arsenal and continues to build its strength."

In remarks which may have been a veiled snipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu, who Liberman has previous accused of being too soft on terrorism, he called on the government to capitalize on Hamas's stubborn refusal to agree to a truce by acting decisively to defeat it.

"Specifically against the backdrop of Hamas's blunt rejection of a ceasefire we must take the decisive and clear decision. It i impossible to constantly hesitate and flounder. This hesitation works against us. We need to go all the way - there is no other alternative here."