Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

UN Security Council fails to act on Gaza violence

UN Security Council fails to act on Gaza violence

Israel Minister Defense Avigdor Lieberman announced today at a special meeting of his faction, Israel Beiteinu, that he would resign as defense minister.

An official from Netanyahu's Likud party hit back at speculation that early elections would be called and said the prime minister would take charge of Lieberman's portfolio at least temporarily.

But late Tuesday, Hamas and other military groups issued a joint statement saying they had accepted an Egyptian cease-fire.

Palestinian militants and Israel held their fire late on Tuesday following an Egyptian mediation effort, bringing a relative calm to theGaza frontier after the fiercest rocket salvoes and air strikes since the 2014 war.

Lieberman told his party, which is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition, that he meant to resign, highlighting his opposition to talks for a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Elections are not due until November 2019, but Lieberman's resignation increases the likelihood of an earlier vote.

Netanyahu cast Israel's handling of Gaza as prudence.

The latest round of violence was triggered by a botched Israeli raid on Sunday that left seven Palestinian militants and a senior Israeli military officer dead.

Israel's security cabinet initially said only that it was ordering the military to continue its operations as required, but two ministers appeared to confirm that it had agreed to accept a ceasefire when they denied that they had supported it. We will dictate the time and circumstances that are right for Israel and are right for the security of our people.

The announcement set off celebrations in Gaza City as Hamas supporters declared victory.

Rather, he told Ynet TV, Israel had "landed a harsh and unprecedented blow on Hamas and the terrorist groups in Gaza, and we will see if that will suffice or whether further blows will be required".

"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.

An anti-tank missile hit a bus near the Gaza border that Hamas says was being used by Israel's army. The blockade has ravaged Gaza's economy, and Israel refuses to lift it unless Hamas disarms, a demand rejected by the militant group, which is pledged to Israel's destruction.

Liberman noted several recent disagreements with Netanyahu, including allowing a Qatari fuel shipment into the Gaza Strip and the repeated postponement of the High Court's sanctioned evacuation of illegal Bedouin settlement Khan al-Ahmar near Jerusalem. In Israel in people have been burning tires in the streets to demonstrate against the "soft hand" against Gaza.

Israel said the covert operation was an intelligence-gathering mission.

Meanwhile, in the rocket-battered town of Sderot in Israel, dozens of protesters chanted "Disgrace!" at what they saw as their government's capitulation to militant violence.

Its timing has raised questions since progress had been made in recent weeks toward ending months of unrest along the Gaza-Israel border, but the Israeli military said it was necessary to defend the country.

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