Yisrael Beytenu Once Again Demands An End to Hamas

Yisrael Beytenu demands that Israel's new government make it a strategic objective to remove Hamas from its position as ruler of Gaza.

Moshe Cohen,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Having wrapped up coalition deals with United Torah Judaism and Kulanu, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has turned his full attention to signing with remaining coalition partners - Jewish Home, Shas, and Yisrael Beytenu - before his final deadline to present a government next week.

In his offer to Yisrael Beytenu, Netanyahu has reportedly offered to keep party chairman Avigdor Liberman as Foreign Minister. In addition, a Yisrael Beytenu MK will be given the Absorption Ministry.

The party also has some policy demands from the prospective government – among them that the new government make it a strategic objective to remove Hamas from its position as the ruler of Gaza.

During the election campaign, Liberman mentioned this objective several times, but his comments on the subject were overshadowed by the campaign's main tenet of imposing the death penalty on convicted terrorists.

That demand does not appear in the list of conditions Liberman had presented Netanyahu with as his price for entering the coalition, but a demand that any final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority be part of a regional agreement does.

The condition, Liberman said, is necessary in order to ensure that Israel can turn to its Arab neighbors to help rein in Palestinian terrorism from factions that would oppose a deal.

Liberman is also demanding that he, as Foreign Minister, be given responsibility for disapora affairs, and that the Diaspora Affairs Ministry essentially be absorbed into the Foreign Ministry.

This could present a problem for Netanyahu, as he has promised the ministry to Jewish Home's Naftali Bennett, who is unlikely to accept a position in which he will be subservient to Liberman.

Liberman also wants an increase in pensions for elderly immigrants, a change that will probably cost the state some NIS 600 million.




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