Prime Minister Netanyahu began consultations Wednesday with coalition leaders and senior Likud officials following the resignation of Minister Avigdor Liberman and the expected resignation of his party, Yisrael Beytenu, from the government.
Netanyahu is seeking to stabilize the coalition and allow it to continue to act.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Wednesday afternoon that he would resign his position in the Netanyahu government, and that he will call for new elections.
"I'm here to announce my resignation as Defense Minister for the State of Israel,” Liberman told reporters at a press conference.
“The question is why now. As far as I'm concerned, what happened yesterday, the ceasefire yesterday, with the negotiations with Hamas, amounts to a capitulation to terrorism. There's no other way to describe it. It has no other meaning, it is simply a capitulation to terror."
Liberman cited a number of areas of disagreement between himself and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which he said culminated in Wednesday’s decision.
"It is no secret that over the past few months, there have been disagreements between myself and the Prime Minister. For instance, my opposition to the [decision] to permit fuel from Qatar to be allowed into the Gaza Strip. I did not want to permit Qatari fuel in [to Gaza]. I thought that this is a mistake. Only after the Prime Minister made a formal written order was I forced to allow Qatari fuel into the Strip."
Liberman also cited the recent coalition decision, pushed by Netanyahu, to delay implementation of a Supreme Court order to demolish the illegal Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar east of Jerusalem.