Israeli opposition parties gleeful at Liberman resignation


Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned in protest over the government's refusal to launch a large-scale military operation into the Gaza Strip, imperiling Prime Minister Benjamin Netahyahu's ruling coalition and raising the possibility of a general election one year earlier than planned.

Israel and Palestinians in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and protests and clashes along the Gaza border since March 30 have repeatedly raised fears of a fourth.

A Palestinian labourer from the occupied West Bank was martyred when a rocket hit a building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Lieberman, one of the hawkish figures in Netanyahu's cabinet that include various right-wing parties, was considered responsible for the botched Israeli raid in Gaza on Sunday, which gave way to the worst violence between Israel and Palestinians since a 2014 war.

Before Sunday's raid, Egyptian and United Nations mediators had made progress in reducing tensions.

Palestinians stand next to an Israeli rocket that did not explode after an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 13, 2018.

Israel's security cabinet initially said only that it was ordering the military to continue its operations as required, but two ministers appeared to confirm that it had agreed to accept a ceasefire when they denied that they had supported it.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian was shot and captured by the Israeli military after being discovered hurling grenades across a perimeter fence.

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The Gaza health ministry says that 25 people have been injured. Hardline Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had opposed "transferring the money to Hamas".

"I see the big picture of Israeli security that I can not share with the public", he said. "It's a shame. Instead of helping us and letting us live quietly, they let us suffer".

MK Itzik Shmuli, also of the Zionist Union, said, "The Liberman resignation is a natural and desirable act given the disgraceful failure". I can not detail our plans for the future.

Protesters denounced Netanyahu's decision to approve the Gaza cease-fire deal, amid accusations for him of "betraying the people of southern Israel". Their discovery set off a battle that led to the deaths of seven militants and an Israeli officer, and triggered the heaviest barrage of rocket fire since a 2014 war. "I can not elaborate on our plans for the future", he said, "We will determine the right conditions and the right times for the State of Israel, which are correct for the security of our citizens".

A picture taken on November 12, 2018, shows a ball of fire and smoke rise above the building housing the television station al-Aqsa TV during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City.

Meanwhile, crowds of Palestinians have gathered in various places in the Gaza Strip to celebrate what they call "the victory of the resistance", where candies were distributed in the streets and Palestinian flags were flown.

Around 460 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at Israel, the most ever in such a brief time period, the army said.