Hamas Hails Defense Chief's Resignation: We Caused Political Earthquake in Israel

Islamic Jihad: Look at the infighting between Israeli leaders that the failed Gaza conflict has caused

Yehiyeh Sinwar, the Hamas militant leader in the Gaza Strip, in Gaza City, May 10, 2018
Khalil Hamra / AP

Hamas welcomed the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman as defense chief on Wednesday, hailing it as a victory of Gaza over Israel.

"Lieberman's resignation is an admission of [Israel's] defeat and helplessness in the face of the Palestinian resistance forces," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

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The news, he added, "is an important political victory for Gaza, which – by standing firm against the Israeli aggression – succeeded in causing a political earthquake in Israel."

Islamic Jihad also welcomed Lieberman's resignation, calling it "a lesson for whoever wants to test the resistance in Gaza."

"Look at the massacre between Israeli leaders that the failed Gaza conflict has caused," the group's spokesman said on Twitter. "The fate of resistance is victory and the enemy's fate is failure and retreat."

Lieberman cited Israel's cease-fire with Hamas as one of the turning points that prompted his resignation. "There is no other definition, no other significance, but a capitulation to terror," he said. Lieberman also slammed the decision to allow millions of dollars into Gaza, saying Israel "is buying short-term quiet at the cost of our long-term security."

Following the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Lieberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett published statements against the truce reached with Hamas. Sources said that as soon as the latest round of fighting erupted, Lieberman demanded a "harsh, decisive" move against Hamas.

Sources close to Bennett said his opposition to the cease-fire was crystal clear. Other sources, however, said that ultimately the ministers unanimously supported the defense establishment's position that action should be taken to restore the calm.

According to associates of Lieberman, the Prime Minister's Office's claim that the defense minister had supported the cease-fire agreement in Gaza infuriated him.

On Tuesday, the third day of hostilities between Israel and Gaza, senior Hamas official Husan Badran said that "if Netanyahu is interested in ending this round, he must fire [Defense Minister] Lieberman, who in his foolish conduct caused the escalation."