'Former Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman has repeated his aggressive rhetoric against the Gaza Strip, saying the next war on Palestinian resistance movements operating inside the besieged coastal enclave "must be the last."
Lieberman said on Thursday that a recent Israeli military intelligence assessment indicated that the Israeli regime is likely to launch a major offensive against Palestinians either in Gaza or the occupied West Bank within the next 12 months.
He asserted that the assessment “is completely consistent with my assessments over the past year.”
“The question now is not 'Will there be another confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip?' but rather 'When will this happen?'" Lieberman said.
The 60-year-old leader of Yisrael Beiteinu political party also took jibes at the Israeli regime, claiming that it is “strengthening” Palestinian resistance groups through not launching a war on Gaza and easing sanctions against the sliver.
Lieberman went on to say that the transfer of Qatari funds and fuel to Gaza in addition to the expansion of its fishing area all serve to strengthen Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which is the military wing of Hamas resistance movement.
The former Israeli minister of military affairs highlighted that public support for Hamas is increasing both in Gaza and the West Bank.
“The next confrontation must be the last confrontation. We must strike a hard and disproportionate blow on Hamas - completely break their willpower to continue to fight against us and destroy their belief that they could ever defeat us,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman resigned from his post on November 14 last year, less than a day after Hamas and other resistance factions agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire with Israel in Gaza.
Announcing his decision in a news conference, the hawkish Israeli official described Gaza truce as “a capitulation to terror.”
Lieberman also vehemently objected to Israel's allowing Qatar to deliver $15 million to the financially-crippled strip to pay the salaries of government workers and civil servants last week.'
Read more: Next war on Gaza must be the last, former Israeli minister says