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News > World

Lieberman Not Alone, Israelis Protest Gaza Ceasefire

  • "I am from Tel Aviv. My blood is not more precious," the sign reads. Protesters were mainly young Israelis. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 November 2018

A recent poll reveals 64 percent of Israelis oppose the ceasefire, endorsing an escalation of Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Israelis, mainly residents of towns and cities in southern Israel near the besieged Gaza Strip, protested the recently-announced ceasefire Thursday in the capital city of Tel Aviv. They are also demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down.  

Israeli Defence Minister Lieberman Resigns Over Gaza Ceasefire

Israeli press reported the protest followed two days of demonstrations in which southern residents burned tires and blocked the entrances to cities affected by Gaza rocket fire.

The protesters, who demand "stronger action" from the Israeli government, blocked the Azrieli Junction, in the center of Tel Aviv, while holding banners and shouting slogans, such as "the south will not be silent."

Sources also reported that up to 1, 500 protesters took part in the mass protest, chanting "Netanyahu is weak in front of Hamas, Bibi resign, Lieberman is looking for a friend," and "Bibi resign, the south is burning." Netanyahu is widely referred to by his nickname, Bibi.

A poll released by Channel 2 showed 64 percent of respondents oppose the ceasefire, saying Israel should have expanded military operations in Gaza. Only 21 percent supported the internationally-brokered ceasefire with Hamas.  

Following two days of Israeli airstrikes across Gaza that resulted in at least 13 Palestinians killed, the Hamas movement agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel, causing former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to resign Wednesday in protest, leaving the government with a razor-thin majority. 

11 Years of Blockade: How Despair Has Made Gaza Unlivable

A day after, Netanyahu faced calls from his coalition partners to hold an early election.

The loss of the five seats of Lieberman's Israel Beitenu faction leaves Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, raising the prospect that a scheduled November 2019 election would be brought forward.

"The best thing for Israel's citizens and economy is to hold an election as soon as possible," Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said in a statement. His call was echoed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri who heads the ultra-Orthodox Shas faction.

Adding to the pressure, Israel's Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the far-right Jewish Home party, has demanded the defense ministry be given to him. The party has also threatened to leave the coalition government if the demand is not met.

Both Lieberman and Bennett, who compete with Netanyahu's Likud for right-wing voters, have spoken in favor of harsh Israeli military action against Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza.

Israel has fought three wars in Gaza since Hamas took over the enclave in 2007. The three wars had devastating consequences for the Strip, particularly for the civilian population.

Despite the human cost of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory, Israelis continue to be lured by right-wing politicians whose platforms hinge of the dehumanization of Palestinians.


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