Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 July

BREAKING: Israeli defense minister resigns

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 14, ARMENPRESS. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday in protest at a Gaza ceasefire that he called a “capitulation to terror”, weakening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative coalition government, Reuters reports.

“Were I to stay in office, I would not be able to look southern residents in the eye,” Lieberman said, referring to Israelis subjected to a surge in Palestinian rocket attacks before Tuesday’s truce took hold.

Lieberman said his resignation also withdraws his far-right Israel Beitenu party from the coalition. The resignation will go into effect 48 hours after he submits a formal letter to PM Netanyahu.

That would leave Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament a year before Israel’s next election.

The former foreign minister, received the defense portfolio in May 2016.

“I am indeed here to announce my resignation from the position of defense minister," Liberman said at a press briefing immediately following a faction meeting at Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

“I have tried to remain a faithful member of the Cabinet and to make heard another view, even at a great electoral and political price," Liberman said, according to Jerusalem Post.

However, Tuesday's ceasefire with Hamas “cannot be interpreted in any way other than a surrender to terror," he added. "This will severely harm our security in the long term.”

“The response that we gave to the 500 rockets shot from Gaza was not enough, to say the least," Liberman continued. "The south should come first. Our weakness is being broadcast to other fronts.”

Terrorists should not feel free to riot at the border or incite against Israel, Liberman added. “Hamas isn’t talking about coexistence and recognition of Israel," he said. "They don’t want to reduce unemployment in Gaza."

Liberman asked the coalition to act swiftly to decide on new elections. “Don’t paralyze the country in the long term,” he said, as reporters by Jerusalem Post.

Liberman's announcement came less than 24 hours after the cabinet approved an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


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