Tuesday in Israel ended with Israel’s defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, threatening to hammer the Palestinians into submission during the next inevitable armed conflict.
Israel won’t stop until it sees the “white flag,” Liberman was quoted as saying by several Israeli outlets including Army Radio and the NPR of Israel, Reshet Bet (a station on Kol Yisrael).
Speaking of Army Radio, the defense minister also said he was going ahead with plans to recommend moving the radio station from the IDF to the Defense Ministry. Army Radio came under fire by top politicians last year after it aired an educational program about a famous Palestinian nationalist poet.
According to Reshet Bet, the defense minister also said he backed land and population swaps as a means for making peace with the Palestinians, a policy he’s been pushing for a many years.
The defense minister with the Moldovan drawl prefers population swaps to giving up merely “land for peace,” a policy enshrined in the history books that allowed Israel to ink a peace deal with Egypt and really nobody else.
Clarifying what he meant by “population swaps,” Liberman said Israel wouldn’t actually be physically moving anybody. Rather, the borders themselves would be changed. He’s talked about giving up Wadi Ara and all its sundry tire shops, golden domes, and roadside restaurants for some time.
Liberman’s comments came as the State Comptroller was gearing up to release a controversial report on Israel’s cabinet and how it lead Tzuk Eitan, the 2014 war between the IDF and everyone with rockets in Gaza. The report is apparently going to be revealing and controversial because everyone involved — Tzipi Livni, Yuval Steinitz, Naftali Bennett, Moshe Ya’alon, Yair Lapid — is already weighing in.
Most of them appear to want the State Comptroller report to be released to the public, though the Knesset State Control subcommittee voted on Sunday to delay the move.
While Steinitz backed its release, he also says it’s important not to reveal cabinet “protocols” because that would be damaging national security. Ya’alon, who was defense minister at the time, said it should be released. Lapid hinted that the report indicated Prime Minister Netanyahu’s leadership was overshadowed by political considerations and PR — which is already what most people in Israel think of his leadership style anyway.
Livni noted that the cabinet at the time was rife with “internal rivalries,” which would seem to be a priori in an Israeli cabinet these days but she said it anyway. Still, Livni, who was justice minister at the time, called it one of the most “problematic” cabinets she’d ever been a part of.
Also on Tuesday, the New York Times wrote that Israel was emboldened by President Trump to announce some 2,500 new housing units to be built in around East Jerusalem and in hilly West Bank Jewish towns overlooking the Coastal Plain (Central Region). Though Israel never seemed to have a problem announcing occupied West Bank housing during the Obama years, that what the NY Times went with, anyway.
Naturally, the West Bank Palestinian leadership called it “colonialist” and slammed Israel for usurping more of the land the Jewish state conquered in 1967 for its own purposes.