Lieberman Slams Netanyahu for 'Proportional' Response to Hezbollah Attack

Foreign minister criticizes Netanyahu's restraint, says lack of a harsh response harms Israeli deterrence.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Avigdor Lieberman.
Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Moti Milrod
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beitinu chairman Avigdor Liebermen criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, for the latter's response more a Hezbollah attack in northern Israel that killed two IDF soldiers on Wednesday.

"Containing the event and the lack of an Israeli response means that Israel is agreeing to terms set by Hezbollah," noted Lieberman on his Facebook page. "It's a serious blow to Israel's deterrence capabilities."

Lieberman also criticized remarks made by Netanyahu on Wednesday after the attacks, in which he called on Hezbollah to recall the results of Operation Protective Edge. "Anyone that holds up Gaza and Operation Protective Edge as an example of deterrence is actually showing the exact opposite of deterrence, and how terror organizations should be dealt with," said Lieberman.

"Deterrence achieved against Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War is beginning to crack, because of what was seen during Protective Edge. If we do not immediately respond with force, the terrorist organizations will understand that Israel cannot effectively overcome terror. They too know that words and declarations cannot defeat terrorism, that only harsh and steadfast actions can destroy the foundations of terror," wrote Lieberman on his Facebook page.

According to Lieberman, those who would prefer not to escalate the situation effectively allow Hezbollah to build up its strength along the border with Syria, and send large amounts of terrorists and lethal weaponry there, in order to strike out against Israel from that area at any time.

"A proportional response in accordance with the 'rules of the game' is exactly what the terrorists want, because it drags us into a war of attrition," wrote Lieberman.

"A proportional response shows the terrorist leaders that they have immunity, that their rule isn't going to be toppled, that their ammunition won't be targeted, and that they will be continue to be allowed to recruit and train new terrorists. Those who want to contain this situation agree to let the terrorist organizations get stronger at the expense of Israeli citizens' safety."

In response to Lieberman's criticism, Likud officials issued a statement. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handles security-related incidents in conjunction with the defense minister and the IDF chief of staff, with responsibility and judicious planning, and is unaffected by various irresponsible and belligerent propositions. Diplomatic and security discussions of all options on the table are held far from the public eye, and certainly the place for them is not the media, nor Facebook. Israel will continue to strike forcefully against terror organizations at the correct time and place," read the statement.

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