GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The surprise retirement of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is further evidence of Israel's failure during its recent assault on Gaza, Palestinian officials said Monday.
"Barak's retirement reaffirms that the Israeli government failed to achieve any of the goals of Operation Pillar of Cloud," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ma'an.
Palestinian National Initiative chief Mustafa Barghouti described Barak's decision as "the first result of the victory Palestinian resistance achieved in Gaza."
"Retirement will not exempt Barak from being tried before the International Criminal Court," Barghouti added.
The Israeli defense minister said in a surprise announcement on Monday that he was quitting politics and would not run in the Jan. 22 national election.
Barak, 70, has been a key player in Israel's tough policy towards curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions and a pointman in Israel's strategic relations with the United States.
He has been defense minister since 2007 and served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001.Reuters contributed to this report