Israeli FM to suggest toppling Hamas

08:19, April 14, 2011      

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File photo of Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, February 23, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who takes a hard-line stance on Hamas, is slated to demand the government topple the Islamic movement's rule in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, a foreign ministry official told Xinhua.

Lieberman is expected to present this demand in a speech Wednesday evening at his Yisrael Beiteinu Party's quadrennial convention in Jerusalem, the official confirmed earlier this week.

"Lieberman is not the only one calling for Hamas' downfall. It is also part of the road map proposed by the Quartet, which calls for the dismantlement of all terrorist organizations," the official said.

The bid comes in light of the recent escalation in violence along the Gaza border region, after Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus last Thursday, critically wounding a 16-year-old. Israel retaliated with some 50 air strikes that killed at least 18 Palestinians.

An informal truce brokered Sunday by Egyptian and UN mediators was followed by a lull in hostilities.

But Lieberman persistently maintains that the solution to the periodic violence is the ouster of Hamas, which wrestled control of the coastal enclave in 2007.

Another issue expected to be voted on at Wednesday's convention concerns the Palestinian efforts to unilaterally obtain recognition of an independent state at the UN General Assembly in September.

Israeli National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau will propose Yisrael Beiteinu demand the government to announce that a UN vote in favor of a Palestinian state will be followed by an immediate, unilateral Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements, a government source told Xinhua Wednesday.

Lieberman, in the meanwhile, anxiously awaits an announcement by State Attorney Yehuda Weinstein of the intention to file an indictment against him on charges of fraud, money laundering and breach of trust.

The foreign minister will be given the chance to challenge the allegations in a subsequent hearing. His failure to appear would deal a blow to his political career and rattle Netanyahu's Likud-led coalition.

Source: Xinhua
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