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Nov 22, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard

Excerpted from The Jerusalem Post: FM tells Channel 2 that launching IDF ground operation to occupy Gaza and overthrow Hamas regime would take 4 months; says launching such an operation would have been the wrong move just two months before elections.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that despite the government’s decision to agree to a cease-fire on Wednesday, Israel would “eventually need to overthrow the Hamas regime” in Gaza.

Liberman said in an interview with Channel 2 that a ground operation in Gaza would entail reoccupying the Gaza Strip, and partaking in such an effort only two months before elections was the wrong move.

“The occupation of Gaza and the overthrow of Hamas is a process that would take more than four months.”

Liberman stated that the government decided to agree to the cease-fire despite the fact that they knew “the public was against it.”

The foreign minster said that the cease-fire was the best agreement Israel could have made at this time. He said that Israel had met its three goals for the mission: stopping rocket fire on the South, regaining Israel’s power of deterrence and destroying Hamas’s stock of long-range Fajr 5 missiles.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday rejected the notion that Israeli public opinion against a cease-fire agreement with Hamas should have any bearing on the Israeli leadership’s decision-making process.

“We don’t have to listen to the public on these issues – the leadership must make the decisions,” Barak said in an interview with Channel 2 when asked about the perceived unpopularity of the cease-fire among the public.

Barak expressed confidence that the cease-fire with Gaza factions would be “relatively long,” adding that “Hamas did not truly achieve anything – Israel has control of all the understandings with them.”

He rejected the idea that the conflict ended in a victory for Hamas, stating that Gazans were celebrating imaginary feats that did not actually occur, such as the alleged shooting down of an Israeli F-16 and rockets falling in Tel Aviv and causing damage.