The first order that Avigdor Liberman gave when he entered the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv May 31 was to complete an operative plan to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip. According to one senior security source, Liberman expressed disbelief that no such Israel Defense Forces (IDF) plan was elaborated.
The policy advocated by his predecessor Moshe Ya’alon did not aim to defeat Hamas, overthrow its government or reoccupy Gaza. Instead, Ya’alon supported a policy of “containing” Gaza (adjusting to the existing reality), isolating Hamas and postponing the next conflict for as long as possible. All of this was based on the assumption that right now, there is no rational alternative to Hamas, and that Israel should not involve itself in changing the regime in any neighboring Arab state or entity. Liberman arrived with a very different approach, shaking up the entire system.