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Liberman: Israel should resume targeted assassinations

Hawkish former FM slams Netanyahu’s ‘catastrophic’ response to wave of Palestinian terrorism, says Israel should attack the source

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman leads a party meeting in the Knesset, October 19, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman leads a party meeting in the Knesset, October 19, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his handling of the current wave of terrorist attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, and said that Israel should return to a policy of targeted assassinations.

“Netanyahu’s handling terror wave of the terror wave has been catastrophic,” the hawkish head of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu opposition party told a cultural event in Tel Aviv, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television.

“We must hurt the sources of terrorism and resume pinpoint prevention,” he said, using the Israeli term for targeted killings.

Israel says it carries out the killings as a preventative measure against those who mastermind or perpetrate terrorist attacks on its population. The Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the measure is a legitimate form of self-defense, and detailed specific instructions for its use.

“The biggest funding source for Palestinian terrorism is the State of Israel,” Liberman charged. “Every Palestinian terrorist’s family, regardless of the group he [or she] belongs to, receives from [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas some NIS 14,000-15,000 every months, from money the PA gets from Netanyahu, from taxes we [Israel] collects on their behalf,” he added.

The Yisrael Beytenu leader vowed that his party would not join Netanyahu’s coalition government, Israel’s Maariv website reported.

Liberman also issued a warning over the fallout from the dispute between Ankara and Moscow. The strife between the two countries erupted Tuesday, when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane along the Syrian border, which it said had entered Turkish airspace and ignored calls to leave.

“The dispute between [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is not just another dispute. It has far-reaching geopolitical implications,” Liberman said.

Tuesday’s incident has sent recriminations flying between two rival players in the Syrian war just as countries such as France are pushing for a broader coalition to try to defeat the Islamic State group.

Moscow slapped sanctions on Ankara on Friday as the war of words over the downed warplane escalated, with Erdogan warning Russia not to “play with fire.”

AFP contributed to this report

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