Defense Minister: We won't re-conquer Gaza in the next war

Defense Minister Liberman says PM Netanyahu won't be indicted, Israel is closer than ever to diplomatic solution.

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Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) spoke to Channel 2 about various "hot topics" which came up in the past year.

Liberman contradicted the complaint that he used convicted IDF soldier Elor Azariya's case to forward his own political agenda.

Azariya shot a terrorist suspected of having an explosive belt - and was then convicted of manslaughter.

"I only said that Azariya is an excellent soldier and that the terrorist was at the scene in order to kill," Liberman said. "We need to let the court work, and I completely trust the system."

He also said that he would support IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot if he chose to pardon Elor Azariya.

"My challenge as Defense Minister, and the IDF's challenge as an army, is to prevent the next war," Liberman said. "With determination and deterrence, we can make the other side see that we're serious."

"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot continue to lead," Liberman said, adding that "it's not in our hands, we're not the higher power."

Regarding the possibility of an additional war in Gaza, Liberman said, "I have no interest in reconquering Gaza."

"We cannot continue fighting a military operation every two years, and if we do fight in Gaza, we must not leave any military infrastructure behind."

Regarding the Palestinian Authority, Liberman said, "We're closer than ever to a diplomatic solution. The Arab countries understand that Israel is not the problem, but the solution."

Liberman also said that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was doing his best to advance a diplomatic solution. According to him, if a solution which includes agreements with all the countries is laid on the table, most of the Knesset will support it.

He also said he is sure Netanyahu's investigation will end without an indictment.

Netanyahu is being investigated for making a deal to purchase submarines from Germany without the consent of his cabinet.

Regarding former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's attempts to form a new party, Liberman said, "His issue is that he won't pass the threshold. I'll give him some friendly advice: Slandering everyone just pushes you farther away from your goal. He's a man to be pitied."