In mid-November, Avigdor Lieberman stepped down from his position as Israeli Defence Minister, refusing to support the government’s decision to cease hostilities with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
In a televised interview, former Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman specifically urged the government to respond to Hamas actions in Gaza instead of focusing on Operation Northern Shield.
The operation’s goal is to locate and destroy Hezbollah tunnels which reach into northern Israel from Lebanon.
“Taking action in the north does not justify inaction in the south. What is happening in the north is an engineering act, not a military operation. There is no need to put one over the other. Both can be dealt with,” Lieberman pointed out.
He also made it clear that he does not regret his move to leave his post as Israeli Defence Minister last month.
According to Lieberman, Israel endorsing Qatar’s move to provide Gaza with $30 million over the past two months was tantamount to “surrendering to Hamas” and “buying quiet at the price of our national security.”
His remarks came a few days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downplayed the risk of the military operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels sliding into a broader conflict.
“My goal was first of all to dismantle these terror tunnels without getting into broad escalation … I think the risk is much lower,” Netanyahu underscored.
Earlier, the UN mission in Lebanon issued a statement saying that they had confirmed the existence of a tunnel discovered by the Israel Defence Forces close to the blue line separating the two countries.
Israel traditionally views the militant group Hezbollah’s presence in Lebanon and Syria as a threat to its national security; the movement is backed by Iran, which is the Jewish state’s main rival in the region.
On November 14, Lieberman resigned as defence minister and also announced the withdrawal of his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party from the ruling coalition headed by Netanyahu.