THE LEVANT – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he doubted the current Gaza ceasefire would hold over the long term and that disarming Gaza militants was not feasible anytime soon.
After briefing Israeli journalists he was quoted across the local media as saying that he thought the chances of Egypt-mediated talks achieving their goal of a durable Gaza truce were slim.
“Any ceasefire, in my opinion, will be limited in time,” Lieberman said.
Disarming the coastal strip was not on the immediate horizon, he said, but it should be kept in the forefront of international public opinion.
“Demilitarisation is not realistic at the moment,” he was quoted as saying.
But he said that no other force but Israel would be capable of enforcing and verifying disarmament.
“Nobody will bring about disarmament but us,” he said. “Nobody else will go from house to house like us.”
At the start of a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende, Lieberman said that the immediate challenge was how to allow reconstruction of war-shattered Gaza without allowing money and materials reaching the militant Islamist Hamas, the de facto power in the territory.
“The issue is first of all how to rebuild the civilian infrastructure and prevent Hamas to rebuild the terrorist infrastructure,” he said in English in remarks broadcast on local television and radio.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also raised the subject when he met Brende.
“The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should go along with the demilitarisation of Gaza because otherwise we can see in no time the next round (of violence),” Rivlin said.
“If the Hamas people once again will spend all the money the whole world is trying to help them in order to reconstruct Gaza, put it into military aims and ability of attacking Israel once again, we can come to a dead end once again,” he said, also in English.