Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman Hillel Maeir/TPS

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was furious on Thursday evening after quotes made by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot at a cabinet meeting were leaked to the media.

"Leaks from cabinet discussions are improper and harmful. Leaking quotes from the Chief of Staff crosses a red line and deals a real blow to state security,” said Liberman.

"A cabinet in which senior members of the defense establishment are afraid to talk, knowing that their words will be leaked to the media, is a cabinet devoid of content. I demand that the Prime Minister use the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to stop leaks from the cabinet," the Defense Minister added.

Liberman’s comments followed a report on Hadashot TV, according to which Eizenkot came to the cabinet this week with an unequivocal warning of an alarming escalation in the Palestinian Arab arena.

According to the report, Eizenkot warned that the chances of a wave of terror in Judea and Samaria are between 60 and 80 percent, and if such a wave develops, it will be more significant than in Gaza in terms of the number of forces required to deal with such a terror wave and the friction that will cause with the civilian population.

The IDF's assessment is based on a number of circumstances, primarily Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ tense relations with the Trump administration and the diplomatic blows he suffered from the White House. This is compounded by Abbas’ shaky relations with the Arab states and the pressure to reach a reconciliation with Hamas, with the negotiations between the sides being stuck. There is concern that Israel will push Abbas out of the picture and create a direct route to Hamas.

Eizenkot warned that the level of tension is expected to rise following the speech that Abbas will deliver next week at the UN General Assembly. Eizenkot said that Abbas is expected to deliver a very aggressive speech that is likely to ignite the area, just as past speeches like this one fueled lone wolf terrorism.

The Chief of Staff suggested that cabinet ministers improve the economic situation of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria, properly manage the pressure of the Americans who do not fully understand the implications of all their measures, and at the same time stressed the importance of finding a solution to the civilian distress in Gaza.