Outgoing Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Yaalon (L) takes part in a weekly cabinet meeting chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R). (Photo by AFP)
has officially resigned as Israel’s minister of military affairs, citing “lack of trust” in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has already offered the post to hawkish Avigdor Lieberman.
Announcing his decision in a Friday post on his Twitter account, Ya’alon said he was resigning both from the cabinet and the Israeli parliament, Knesset, and “taking a break from political life.”
“I told the prime minister this morning that due to his conduct in recent developments, and in light of my lack of trust in him, I am resigning,” he said.
Ya’alon had been at loggerheads with Netanyahu ever since he supported an analogy by Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Golan between the current state in Israel and Nazi Germany.
Netanyahu summoned Ya’alon on Wednesday and reportedly upbraided him. The Israeli premier then met Lieberman and offered him the post as the minister of military affairs which he accepted.
In the meeting, Netanyahu reportedly agreed to a number of demands which Lieberman had outlined during a press conference earlier in the day.
Among his priorities was introducing the death penalty for the Palestinians who are accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis.
On Thursday, Palestinians denounced the planned appointment, saying the decision showed Israel was intent on spreading extremism and expanding illegal settlements.
“The inclusion of Lieberman, known for his extreme right-wing stance toward the Palestinians, is new evidence that Netanyahu, as usual, has preferred to promote extremism,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said.
Netanyahu is now set to form the most extremist cabinet in Israeli history, raise international concern about his policies, especially on the conflict with the Palestinians.
As the minister of military affairs, Lieberman would oversee military operations in the Palestinian territories and have a major say in policy towards the settlements.
Lieberman himself lives in a settlement which the international community considers illegal and persistent expansion of settler units as one of the biggest causes of the escalating tensions.
He has long expressed mistrust in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and called for his removal.
Just a month ago, he said that if he were the minister of military affairs, he would give Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh 48 hours to hand over the bodies of soldiers killed in the 2014 Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip “or you’re dead.”
He has also called on the Israeli regime to treat Palestinian resistance movement Hamas the same way as the United States treated “the Japanese in World War II.”
The notorious politician has also openly supported a soldier charged with murder for shooting dead an injured Palestinian.
The changes come after Golan stirred an uproar earlier this month by saying he was concerned by some of the extremist voices within the Israeli reigme.
Golan purportedly said, “It is unimaginable that in an effort to ensure our soldiers’ safety, we can destroy whole apartment buildings.”
“Killing women, children, uninvolved civilians. Unacceptable. The use of force in civilian areas must always be kept under control, and restricted to the minimum necessary,” he was heard saying.