Liberman: Israel should have let hunger-striker die in jail
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Liberman: Israel should have let hunger-striker die in jail

Former FM slams Netanyahu’s handling of Allaan case, and tells his party to prepare for elections in 2016

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Leader of Israel's Yisrael Beytenu party, Avigdor Lieberman, speaks at a conference attended by fellow party parliament members and activists, in honor of the upcoming Jewish holidays, in Jerusalem on August 30, 2015. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Leader of Israel's Yisrael Beytenu party, Avigdor Lieberman, speaks at a conference attended by fellow party parliament members and activists, in honor of the upcoming Jewish holidays, in Jerusalem on August 30, 2015. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security and foreign policies, saying Israel should have allowed a hunger-striking detainee to die in prison, and predicted the governing coalition would not survive the 2015 calendar year.

“I say this with complete confidence: In 2016, elections for the 21st Knesset will be held,” Liberman told a gathering of his party’s Knesset members and activists in Jerusalem, held to mark the upcoming High Holidays.

Liberman, who served as foreign minister in the previous Netanyahu government, told his party’s lawmakers to prepare for an election campaign in the near future. The right-wing Yisrael Beytenu won a disappointing six seats in March’s elections, and Liberman opted to go into opposition, from where he has been a relentless critic of his former ally Netanyahu.

Liberman criticized Netanyahu for his weak stance towards terrorism and pointed to the handling of the case of Palestinian hunger-striker Mohammed Allaan as evidence, who he said should have been allowed to die in jail. A High Court ruling from earlier this month suspended alleged Islamic Jihad activist Allaan’s administrative detention after tests showed that he had sustained brain damage as a result of a two-month fast.

Palestinian terror suspect Mohammad Allaan addresses supporters from his Ashkelon hospital bed after he ended his 65-day hunger strike, in a video message released August 21, 2015. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Palestinian terror suspect Mohammad Allaan addresses supporters from his Ashkelon hospital bed after he ended his 65-day hunger strike, in a video message released August 21, 2015. (Screen capture: YouTube)

“The government’s moves in recent months have proved time and again that the decision not to join (the coalition) was the right one,” Liberman said. “This weak government is only worried about its own survival, and that comes at the expense of its citizens.”

“We have seen how the government takes the important tool of administrative detention and rendered it useless,” he said, and elaborated: “Over the years, including at the beginning of the military operation in Gaza (last summer’s Protective Edge against Hamas), I’ve told Netanyahu that if you start something then do it all the way. It’s the same with administrative detention. If you detain someone, then go all the way. Don’t give in to any pressure, and if he wants to hunger strike to death, let him die,” Liberman said.

Liberman said Allaan was able to take on the state and win because Netanyahu’s government “broadcasts a message of defeat, fear and indecision.”

He also slammed Netanyahu’s handling of the Iran nuclear crisis.

“Netanyahu does not know how to make tough decisions. Instead, he continues his hollow talk which does not solve the Iranian nuclear issue, and only intensifies Israel’s isolation, and worsens our position in the international arena,”Liberman said.

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