Ministers, MKs Critical Over Ceasefire with Hamas
Harsh criticism has met the decision by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to accept a long-term ceasefire with Hamas starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, which was accompanied by a massive rocket and mortar barrage that left one Israeli dead.
Netanyahu informed members of the Security Cabinet about the decision through telephone calls, to which Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) reportedly expressed his opposition to the move.
Bennett argued that Israel should not be holding negotiations with a terror organization or make agreements with them. His position has in the past garnered a reprimand by Netanyahu.
Likud MK and former Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon - who was fired recently by Netanyahu for his outspoken criticism of the PM - was also quick to condemn the deal.
"In the Middle East restraint is interpreted as weakness," he said in a statement.
"Despite the heavy price we did not defeat Hamas. 50 days of fighting, 64 (soldiers killed), five civilians killed, 82,000 reserve soldiers drafted and at the end of the whole thing we return to the understandings of 'Pillar of Defense'," he continued, referring to the fact that the ceasefire deal is said to mirror that which followed Israel's last counterterrorism operation, Pillar of Defense, in 2012.
He added that Israel should have send a message "to the entire Middle East, including Hezbollah, ISIS and Iran, that you don't mess with Israel. I'm afraid that in this matter we did not do enough," he went on, calling for a period of "national reflection".
"The policy of restraint and hesitancy hampered Israel's deterrent capability. The next round is just a matter of time," he concluded, saying that next time Israel needed "to defeat Hamas".
Criticism from the left
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) likewise criticized talk of a ceasefire earlier on Tuesday, speaking at a legal conference in Ashkelon where a home suffered a direct hit in the morning hours.
"The end of the operation doesn't need to come with significant diplomatic achievements for Hamas," said Livni, defining the group as being "imbued with an extremist ideology that doesn't allow it to reach an agreement with us."
"A ceasefire in my opinion cannot be part of just another round (of fighting), but we must find the path through which the end to the operation will be part of a general agreement with those that want a two state solution," suggested Livni.
Livni was tasked as negotiator in the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) that broke down in April after the PA signed a unity agreement with Hamas.
Joining in on the criticism was MK Zehava Galon, chairperson of the far-left Meretz party.
"The ceasefire is coming too late and its conditions prove once and for all that Operation Protective Edge is a strategic failure for Netanyahu, who went to war without goals and gave an enormous achievement to Hamas to be borne by residents of the south," stated Galon.