Toppling Hamas condition for joining coalition
Avigdor Lieberman of the ultra-nationalist Israel Beiteinu party said Tuesday he will only join an Israeli coalition government that pledged to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza, dpa reported.
The belligerent Lieberman, whose popularity has soared following renewed violence in Gaza and whose party has become the third the largest in the Israeli parliament according to exit polls published after Tuesday's elections, said he wants a right-wing government that would discontinue the policies of the current one led by the centrist Kadima movement led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
"We hold the key" to any new coalition, he said to loud cheers at his campaign headquarters in Jerusalem. "We must topple the Hamas regime. We will not agree to the continuation of the Hamas regime in Gaza."
He also rejected the outgoing government's attempt to reach a new truce in Egyptian-mediated indirect negotiations with the radical Islamist movement controlling the strip.
"No truce with Hamas, no negotiations with Hamas direct or indirect," he declared.
"We determine the agenda (of the election campaign), that's the real achievement of Israel Beiteinu," he said.