Former Chief of Staff not worried about Liberman appointment

May 22, 2016  

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday said that he is not concerned about the upcoming appointment of MK Avigdor Liberman as Defense Minister.

“I think Liberman demonstrated a pragmatic approach when he was Foreign Minister. We are facing great challenges. There is a significant gap between rhetoric and politics and action on the ground. So I feel calm about this,” he told the Jerusalem Post conference.

Ashkenazi said that he has great respect for the contribution by outgoing minister Moshe Ya’alon and added, “I hope he will continue to contribute to the security of the state.”

“We must fight terrorism,” he continued. “The thought that it is impossible to defeat terrorism is wrong, but at the same time we must seek every opportunity to resolve the conflicts around us.”

The Former Chief of Staff stressed that he believes there should be no negotiations between Israel and Hamas.

“Hamas does not recognize Israel. Hamas is an enemy country and must be treated as such. This does not mean we cannot provide relief to the population [of Gaza]. I think we should help them all we can. But we cannot compromise with terror,” he stressed.

In another reference to the changes in the Defense Ministry, Ashkenazi was asked about the American aid agreement to Israel which has yet to be finalized and said that “at the end of the day an agreement will be reached, I do not think it depends on who serves as Defense Minister.”

The comments are in line with ones made earlier by a senior official from Washington, who said that Ya’alon’s departure from his post, and from politics in general, will not affect U.S. aid to Israel.

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