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Next war on Gaza must be the last, former Israeli minister says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The undated photo shows former Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. (By AFP)

Former Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman has repeated his aggressive rhetoric against the Gaza Strip, saying the next war on Palestinian resistance movements operating inside the besieged coastal enclave "must be the last."

Lieberman said on Thursday that a recent Israeli military intelligence assessment indicated that the Israeli regime is likely to launch a major offensive against Palestinians either in Gaza or the occupied West Bank within the next 12 months.

He asserted that the assessment “is completely consistent with my assessments over the past year.”

“The question now is not 'Will there be another confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip?' but rather 'When will this happen?'" Lieberman said.

The 60-year-old leader of Yisrael Beiteinu political party also took jibes at the Israeli regime, claiming that it is “strengthening” Palestinian resistance groups through not launching a war on Gaza and easing sanctions against the sliver.

Lieberman went on to say that the transfer of Qatari funds and fuel to Gaza in addition to the expansion of its fishing area all serve to strengthen Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which is the military wing of Hamas resistance movement.

The former Israeli minister of military affairs highlighted that public support for Hamas is increasing both in Gaza and the West Bank.

“The next confrontation must be the last confrontation. We must strike a hard and disproportionate blow on Hamas - completely break their willpower to continue to fight against us and destroy their belief that they could ever defeat us,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman resigned from his post on November 14 last year, less than a day after Hamas and other resistance factions agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire with Israel in Gaza.

Announcing his decision in a news conference, the hawkish Israeli official described Gaza truce as “a capitulation to terror.”

Lieberman also vehemently objected to Israel's allowing Qatar to deliver $15 million to the financially-crippled strip to pay the salaries of government workers and civil servants last week.

"It is no secret that there were differences between the prime minister and I," Lieberman said. "I did not agree to allow entry of Qatari money [into Gaza], and I had to allow it only after the prime minister announced it."

The Israeli military frequently bombs Gaza, with civilians being the main target of such attacks.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

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