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Israeli defense minister announces resignation protesting Gaza truce

Published: Updated:

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Wednesday that he was resigning from the conservative coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in protest at a Gaza truce.

Announcing his decision, which takes effect 48 hours after he puts it in writing, Lieberman deemed Tuesday’s Egyptian-mediated deal with the Palestinian group Hamas “a capitulation to terror”.

“What we're doing now as a state is buying short-term quiet, with the price being severe long-term damage to national security,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman also said that his party will quit the government as a result of his resignation, leaving Netanyahu with a narrow majority in parliament.

He added: “We should agree on a date for elections as early as possible,” while sharply criticising the ceasefire that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended his decision to accept a ceasefire after the worst escalation with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war.

“In times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” he said at a ceremony in honor of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion.

“Our enemies begged for a ceasefire and they knew very well why.”

The deal has provoked criticism from within Netanyahu’s government as well as from Israelis who live near the Gaza Strip and want further action against its rulers Hamas.