Hundreds of Likud members took part in a meeting of the party's Central Committee in Ashkelon on Monday, where they passed a party proposal obligating the toppling the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza in the next counter-terror operation.
"We must rehabilitate our deterrence, and in the next round destroy Hamas - there must be a clear decisive (blow)," said Likud Central Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon at the event.
The statement refers to the perceived lack of decisive military action in Operation Protective Edge, the third such operation in Gaza, which ended with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sealing a ceasefire with Hamas that coincided with a nose-dive in his approval ratings.
Netanyahu himself was absent at the meeting Monday, instead taking part in a meeting of Likud activists in Petah Tikva that he arranged to conflict with the Central Committee meeting so as not to be present.
"Netanyahu needed to be here tonight - it would have been a demonstration of democracy for the unity of the Likud, the party and the movement," said Danon.
Before the event, Danon told Arutz Sheva that Netanyahu should be present at the meeting, noting "that's how (former Prime Minister Menachem) Begin acted after uprooting from Sinai. He came, sat in the front row, listened to the members and responded. You can't ignore the party."
"Netanyahu must step down"
Danon has been at odds with Netanyahu over the operation, saying last month that the prime minister's policies of "quiet will met by quiet" and limited responses brought "humiliation" on Israel.
Tensions between the two came to a head in July when Netanyahu fired Danon from his role as Deputy Defense Minister, after Danon criticized Netanyahu's decision to accept a ceasefire with the Hamas terror group.
Speaking at the committee meeting on Monday, Likud Central Committee member Aryeh Elbaz said Netanyahu should step down after firing Danon.
"The prime minister needs to find himself a different party," charged Elbaz. "Specifically the person who needs to be leading the party created division."
It was claimed that Netanyahu's ceasefire early in the operation was a ploy to gain global support after Hamas breached it, which it did - although global support was not exactly forthcoming. However, Danon noted that his criticism was vindicated after Hamas's terror tunnel system was lethally unveiled just after the ceasefire, meaning it would have been left in place by the ceasefire.
Netanyahu was acting as a "contractor of the left," accused Danon, remarking that the ceasefire Netanyahu accepted would have left the tunnel system intact to potentially be used in massacring Israelis.