JERUSALEM, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Monday he decided to sever the joint faction he established with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to "fundamental disagreements."
"The differences between me and the prime minister became fundamental and do not enable a future partnership," Lieberman told reporters on Monday.
Netanyahu and Lieberman have had disagreements over how Israel should respond to the recent outbreak of violence (among which the kidnap and murder of the three Israeli teens) and volleys of rockets from the Gaza Strip.
Lieberman added that whereas he decided to dissolve the Likud Beytenu joint faction, established last January from Netanyahu's Likud party and Lieberman Israel Beytenu Party, he and his party will not leave the coalition and cause a political turmoil.
Both exchanged verbal blows on Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting, after Netanyahu singled out Lieberman while mentioning ministers who made "inflammatory and brash" remarks at a time of escalation tension, according to local media report.
Lieberman suggested to reconquer the Gaza Strip (which Israel evacuated and disengaged from in 2005) in response to the rockets fire, whereas Netanyahu talked about a need for restraint in Israel's response to rocket attacks.
"I'm not attacking the prime minister, he has his views, I see matters differently and I don't hide them," Lieberman said.
Prior to the January 2013 general elections, Netanyahu and Lieberman decided to merge their parties in order to gain a majority hold over the Knesset (parliament). Despite the union, the two parties went on operating their separate mechanisms and agendas.
The breakup of the joint party means that the Likud party is down to 20 seats in the Knesset (from its previous 31 seats along with Israel Beytenu), making it only one-seat bigger than Yesh Atid which has 19 seats in the Knesset.
Last month, Lieberman criticized Netanyahu's leadership and the absence of a clear policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after several ministers made contradictory speeches regarding Israel's policy.