On July 7, London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat quoted its correspondent from Ramallah as saying that the head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, Avigdor Lieberman, who is also the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu party and an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for the occupation of the Gaza Strip without delay. Lieberman also stated that that if he were the prime minister, he would order the conquest of the Gaza Strip.
Lieberman said in a radio interview that “the dubious quiet” in Gaza is being used by Hamas to build up its powers. He said there is a link between the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the activity taking place between Sinai and Gaza, adding that he has no doubt that the jihadist elements in the Sinai Peninsula will try to exploit the situation to undermine Israel’s security.
The Abu Dhabi-based Al Ittihad Newspaper reported on July 7 that Lieberman stressed that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, would oppose what he called concessions made by Israel in the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He said that reports stating that the Israeli government would provide goodwill gestures to the Palestinian leadership in exchange for the resumption of peace negotiations are incorrect. “It is clear that the conditions needed for a breakthrough [in the peace process] have yet to come about. The Arab League is non-existent; the situation in Egypt is unclear. I think talk of a breakthrough is premature and overly optimistic,” he said.
On July 7, the Doha-based newspaper Asharq quoted agencies in Ramallah as saying that Lieberman stated that Egypt’s stability is in Israel’s interest. However, he added in an interview on Saturday with the Israeli electronic newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Israel should not hurry to declare its position on the situation in Egypt. “We haven’t seen the end of this yet. The issue is far from over,” he said. “It is clear that the last word has yet to be said. The Brotherhood is not exactly the type of organization that will keep its cool after Morsi’s ouster. But it is still too early to tell, I just want to stress that things are not over yet.”