Israeli Defence Minister Lieberman's resignation is seen as Gaza’s political victory, according to Hamas spokesman Abu Zukhri. Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Professor Abraham Diskin, an Israeli political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, shared his views on the situation.
Sputnik: What is your take on Mr. Lieberman's resignation and the reasoning he has given for it?
Abraham Diskin: The latest trigger was the ceasefire with the Hamas and [Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor] Lieberman believed that it's too early and the Hamas will not deter on the contrary and I am sure that he also had questions of popularity in Israel in mind but it seems that generally speaking he was not sincere. I think it's really disagreements with the prime minister who was more moderate several times concerning the conflict with terrorists in general and the Hamas in particular.
Sputnik: Well Mr. Lieberman is obviously very unhappy with the current situation the cash infusion from Qatari would have been the point but also the ceasefire. Is thisheaping more pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to actually go for early elections? And why is he not wanting to actually authorize early elections in Israel?
Abraham Diskin: First, I don't think that early elections were really a major consideration but I am sure that it was on his mind. But we will see what happen. You know, what we've seen from the Israeli media for instance and also on the net is quite some criticism against Netanyahu for being too soft on the Hamas and here to the deterrence towards the terrorists in general and the Hamas in particular. And I am sure that if you share such criticism and if it is shared even by people close to Netanyahu and also in regard to popular position of few potential voters in the centre of the Israeli arena, or on the right side of the Israeli arena, I think he's cautious towards decision like the one which was made by Lieberman. By the way, early elections are not something certain. I think quite likely that we are going to have early elections but we don't know that for sure yet.
Sputnik: Now the Gazans is actually saying that this is a political victory for them, do you believe that is the case?
Abraham Diskin: As far as I evaluate the situation the Hamas really begged for ceasefire. I think that Israel signalled by the air bombing, the very accurate air bombing I think that Israel was really cautious not to cause too many casualties in general and civilian casualties in particular but I think that the blows that the Hamas had to observe were very-very severe and to the best of my knowledge and to the best of my understanding it is very-very far from being a Hamas victory. Although the Hamas present it as such I think that the opposite is correct and I also think that the people in Israel don't really understand what I've just said. People say well maybe Netanyahu got cold feet, maybe the deterrence shouldn't be possible. [Inaudible] with the demonstrations on the fence by the people in Gaza, we'll see that very soon. But I think that the Hamas was hurt too severely in spite of the fact that they present it in an opposite way.
Sputnik: I am reading that Mr Netanyahu is going to be the interim defence minister as well. Is the prime minister and the government going to be able to get through this particular event, [which is] obviously heaping a lot of pressure on the actual government itself and what can we expect now from Hamas now the Israeli pursuing conflict in general moving forward? What's your take on that?
Abraham Diskin: First of what I think that what you've mentioned there is the main question because there is a very strong pressure on Netanyahu to nominate the leader of a small party, the Jewish Home party, as defence minister. They cannot really give up that demand and on the same token I cannot see how Netanyahu is going to fulfil their wish and that's why we are going to have probably, it's not for sure, early elections. During the early elections, of course, if you have a transition government, this is the season to have early elections. This government does not practically have the same political powers as usual but I do not think that that would apply to defence issues. I think that none of defence issues are concerned, the hands of the Israeli government, even if it is a transition government are not going to be tied and I think that given the atmosphere, the political atmosphere in Israel, I think that Israel will be free to operate according to Netanyahu's will even if we have early elections.
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