Israeli defence minister quits over ceasefire, splitting ruling coalition

Smoke rises during an Israeli air strike in Gaza

Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned in protest over the government's refusal to launch a large-scale military operation into the Gaza Strip, imperiling Prime Minister Benjamin Netahyahu's ruling coalition and raising the possibility of a general election one year earlier than planned.

As mentioned in his speech, Lieberman's surprise announcement was sparked by a disagreement over Israel's policy in Gaza and the ceasefire agreement reached with Hamas last night. "We are buying short-term calm for long-term harm to security".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the decision to step back from a full-blown conflict as a unified one made by his Security Cabinet and based on the military's recommendations.

He also called for elections to be held as soon as possible, saying he hopes a date will be set by Sunday.

A ceasefire was brokered by Egypt late Tuesday, yet protests in Gaza against the Israeli air campaign continued into the evening hours after the truce. "But in times of crisis, when making critical decisions in the field of security, the public can not always be a partner in the crucial considerations that must be concealed from the enemy", he said.

For these and many other Israelis, accepting the ceasefire was an act of cowardice, that gives precedence for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to terrorize Israel whenever they please.

The Israeli leader has faced criticism from hard-right sections of his government and wider society following a truce agreed after the worst escalation in the coastal enclave since the 2014 war between the military and Hamas, the rulers of Gaza. "Gaza's steadfastness sent a political shockwave".

After Mr Lieberman's resignation, Mr Netanyahu could retain control of the defence portfolio, instead of giving it to another right-wing minister in his cabinet, Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Hamas hailed Lieberman's resignation, calling it a "victory for Gaza", the newspaper added.

A Palestinian woman looks out of the window after Israeli air strikes destroyed buildings in Gaza City, Nov. 14, 2018.

Their discovery set off a battle that led to the deaths of seven Palestinian militants, including a Hamas commander, and an Israeli officer, and triggered the heaviest barrage of rockets fired from Gaza since a 2014 war.

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". Mansour said the agreement was not only a ceasefire but a beginning to the process of lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza which he described as "immoral, illegal", and "inhumane".

On Wednesday, a Palestinian was shot and captured by the Israeli military after being discovered hurling grenades across a perimeter fence. Hamas and other militant groups responded with a wave of rocket attacks the following day.

"We are third-class citizens here in Sderot and the communities on the border with Gaza", complained David Maimon, a local resident.

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