13:50 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

    What's Behind Lieberman's Return to Israeli Gov't as Defense Minister

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    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon announced his resignation over "the lack of trust" in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies and is likely to be replaced by former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. In an interview with Sputnik, political analyst Ofer Zalzberg and Fatah member Abbas Zaki commented on the issue.

    According to Zaki, Yaalon's resignation hasn't taken him by surprise.

    "It was expected, because in Israel there has been no power for a long time. Israel has transformed from a state into chaos a long time ago. Lieberman's appointment is the beginning of massive turmoil in the country," Zaki said in an interview with Sputnik.

    Yaalon and Netanyahu have sparred in recent weeks over the use of deadly force on neutralized Palestinian assailants.

    Following Yaalon's resignation, former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accepted the offer by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take the post of defense minister in the new coalition government, a move that has been criticized by several politicians and political experts.

    Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst with the Middle East Program of the International Crisis Group, said Lieberman's appointment surprised many analysts as the latter lacks military experience for this position and has been declared persona non-grata in many Western countries.

    "Lieberman was already a foreign minister. Several Western countries declared him to be a persona non-grata. They would not welcome him to visits and […] Netanyahu will have to nominate someone else […] to manage the strategic relations between Israel and the US," Zalzberg told Radio Sputnik, adding that it would add complexity to Israel's decision making and its relations with Western countries.

    According to Zalzberg, the main goal of Lieberman's appointment is to ensure that he wouldn't pose a challenge to Netanyahu in the next elections. However, his lack of experience in the military sphere might have negative consequences for Israel's military policy and escalate already existing crises.

    "Lieberman has none [military experience]. In this sense, small incidents may develop into major crises quite quickly," Zalzberg said. "He has never managed a military operation. […] He also spoke about very bold moves of reconquering Gaza in order to remove Hamas totally from power. I think he shows a lack of experience in such statements," the expert stated.


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