Netanyahu needs to cut deal with Hamas now

April 16, 2019
If Netanyahu wants Lieberman as his Defence Minister, he has to cut a deal with Hamas first

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman

Shlomi Eldar writes in Al Monitor, “The elections are now behind us, but the real trouble has just begun. Having waited patiently for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to finish his political business, Hamas seems to think the time has come to renew the interrupted negotiations with Israel on a long-term cease-fire deal.”

“To recap: At the end of March, some two weeks prior to election day, Hamas and Israel reached an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreement, ending yet another round of violence prompted by the firing of a missile from Gaza into a house in central Israel. While for political reasons Israel declined to admit to striking a deal with Hamas — after all, who makes deals with a terror organization? — it was clearly no coincidence that Hamas called off its violent border protests and reined in a mass demonstration to mark the first anniversary of its protest campaign. In return, Israel expanded Gaza’s fishing zone and reopened the Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings to goods and people. Hamas promised to lie low and Israel committed to returning to the table after the elections to finalize a long-term arrangement.”

Ismail Haniyah (l.), Head of Hamas politburo, and Yayah Sinwar, Head of Hamas in Gaza

“According to the final election results, one particularly formidable obstacle has been removed from Netanyahu’s path. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who fantasized about getting the defense minister’s job, was not reelected. Bennett, who harped continuously on Netanyahu’s “surrender to Hamas” and promised voters to wipe out its leadership, failed to cross the four-seat electoral threshold with his New Right.”

“Bennett is gone, but former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who resigned last November citing the government’s “soft” policy on Hamas, is lying in wait. Without the five elected Knesset members of Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, Netanyahu does not have sufficient numbers for a coalition. Absent a commitment to annihilate Hamas, Netanyahu cannot form a government.” (more…)


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