Likud MK Says Despite Criticism, No One's Quitting the Gov't
Ministers in his government may be highly critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's handling of the Gaza war, but none of them will be breaking up his government any time soon, said Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat. Speaking on Israel Radio, Livnat said that those criticizing Netanyahu for not going far enough in fighting Hamas “would not change places with the Prime Minister, even if they had the opportunity to do so.”
Ministers and MKs have been slamming the Prime Minister over the past few days for agreeing to yet another ceasefire with Hamas, which had broken seven previous truces during the course of Operation Protective Edge. Netanyahu informed members of the Security Cabinet about the decision through telephone calls, with numerous ministers expressing opposition to the move.
Ministers also criticized Netanyahu for agreeing to the deal without taking a cabinet vote. The cabinet is set to meet Thursday night for the first time since the ceasefire was announced Tuesday, and Netanyahu is likely to face scathing criticism.
Among the critics was Likud MK and former Deputy Defense Minister Danon, who was fired recently as Deputy Defense Minister by Netanyahu for his outspoken criticism of the PM.
“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'," Danon wrote in an open letter to the Prime Minister, 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.” Both Bennett and Livni have criticized Netanyahu on similar grounds.
But it's all just rhetoric, said Livnat; none of Netanyahu's challengers have any better ideas than the Prime Minister and are unlikely to have handled the situation differently. Jewish Home party head and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, who led criticism of the ceasefire, realizes this and “he has told me that he is not preparing to withdraw from the coalition,” she claimed.
Danon, also speaking on Israel Radio, confirmed Livnat's take on the situation, saying that neither he nor others on the right were seeking to replace Netanyahu. He did, however, reiterate his sharp criticism of the Prime Minister, saying that the IDF should have been allowed to decimate Hamas altogether.