Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fired his deputy defense minister for publicly criticizing as too soft the government’s decisions in its ongoing battle with Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip.
Danny Danon had blasted the Israeli government’s decision Tuesday to adopt an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire and halt its military offensive against Hamas, according to Reuters news agency. Hamas did not embrace the ceasefire terms and the fighting has continued.
“Hamas is once again setting conditions for us,” he is reported to have said while visiting soldiers stationed outside Gaza. “We must not be humiliated. We must correct the mistake of the cabinet decision from this morning [to accept the ceasefire] and allow the army to do what it must!”
Mr. Danon is not the only member of the Israeli government who has criticized its effort to show restraint during the outbreak of violence. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has also called for a stronger air campaign in retaliation for the rockets that are being launched at Israel from Gaza, according to The Times of Israel.
Mr. Netanyahu was quick to respond to Mr. Danon’s statement, explaining to his cabinet in a sharply worded letter that the deputy defense minister’s words reflected “a comprehensive irresponsibility, especially considering the post he holds,” according to The Times of Israel.
“In light of these statements, which express a lack of faith in the government and in the person standing at its head on a personal level, one would expect the deputy defense minister to take responsibility and resign,” he said. “Since he has not done so of his own volition, I have decided to remove him from his position.”
In a response letter, Mr. Danon defended his perspective and described Mr. Netanyahu as feeble, according to The Times of Israel “I did not agree, and won’t agree to this spirit of leftist feebleness by the prime minister, and I won’t sell out my ideology for an office and driver,” he said.