Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: “There are 3 options:
•A diplomatic arrangement
•A state of limbo where we respond when they open fire”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on Monday, stressed that Operation Protective Edge is not over and suggested the possibility of a U.N. mandate in Gaza after Hamas is toppled.
“There are three options,” Lieberman said, addressing the possible outcomes of the Gaza conflict. “A [diplomatic] arrangement, Hamas’ submission, or a state of limbo where we respond when they open fire.
“In my opinion, the third option is irrelevant; otherwise Hamas has the option to open fire whenever it pleases. A country cannot be at the mercy of a terror organization.”
Lieberman also addressed questions about what would happen if Israel topples Hamas, saying, “I think there are a few possible answers here, one of them being a U.N. mandate. We saw a U.N. mandate work in Kosovo, and therefore I think we need to work to bring back a U.N. mandate to the region.”
He added that such an arrangement would require an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“We must make decisions about the future. We need to think about how to bring about calm, eliminate the rocket threat and prevent [Hamas] from growing stronger,” Lieberman said.
He did not offer additional details, saying that details would be discussed by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet behind closed doors. He explained that this is one of the more complicated diplomatic challenges Israel has faced in recent years.
“Today, every international forum understands the need to demilitarize the Gaza Strip, destroy terror infrastructure and get rid of the tunnels and rockets,” Lieberman said, citing the understanding as an accomplishment of the war.
“You see this in the European Union and in the United States. The fact that the [U.N.] Security Council has yet to make a resolution stems from American support and our diplomatic efforts.”
Lieberman also took the opportunity to criticize international media coverage of the Gaza war, saying, “In the international media, you will not see Hamas shooting its protesters. You also will not see groups of terrorists gathering in hospitals and mosques, shooting from there.”
According to a Channel 10 report, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said, “We have completed another stage of Operation Protective Edge, and now the ball is in the diplomatic court.
“This operation is not over. I commend the decision not to hold negotiations with Hamas. In Israel we do not talk to terror organizations, we fight them.”
According to a Channel 2 report, Justice Minister Tzipi LIvni said, “We must end this operation with a weakened Hamas. But that is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is the replacement of Hamas, however right now, it must be weakened.
“We must establish a new order the Gaza Strip that allows for the clear differentiation between civilians and Hamas members, with appropriate monitoring mechanisms to prevent the transfer of terror funding to Gaza. Later, we will need to negotiate with this same pragmatic group that stands to pressure and does not submit to Hamas demands to return to an armed intifada.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=19241