Lieberman pulls Yisrael Beiteinu out of deal with Likud

By Rosa Doherty, July 7, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is to dismantle the Likud-Beiteinu partnership.

Mr Lieberman said that he was withdrawing Yisrael Beiteinu from the party list it shares with Likud after he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagreed over how to respond to the rocket fire from Gaza.

In a televised statement earlier today, Likud leader Mr Netanyahu said:"In these moments we must be level-headed and responsible.”

He criticised the "inflammatory and brash" rhetoric used by Mr Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who have been calling for a large-scale operation in Gaza and criticising the government's policies.

Mr Netanyahu said: "We will do everything possible to restore calm in the south."

After the cameras stopped rolling, he added:"Those who criticise me and the government over our conduct are irresponsible and doing so for political ends".

Mr Lieberman responded: "You were the one who held a press conference after the kidnapped teens’ funeral and before the cabinet and only spouted slogans without backing them up.

"What I said about Gaza and Israeli Arabs are things I have been telling my constituents for years.

“You promised to deal a harsh blow on Hamas but nothing came of it and they continue to shoot at citizens."

Mr Netanyahu then criticised Mr Lieberman for talking to the media without coming to cabinet meetings during the recent kidnap of the three teens.

Mr Lieberman missed a recent meeting as he was on a political visit to Germany, but returned when the bodies of the three teens were found.

Last updated: 11:50am, July 7 2014