According to senior Israeli ministers speaking at a Jerusalem conference, Israel is inching closer to the conclusion that it may have to overrun Gaza and take over its management.
According to Public Security Minister and member of the security cabinet Gilad Erdan at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday, Israel must “move from defense to offense” when it comes to “targeted killings of terrorist leaders of Hamas’s military wing,” and it “means being willing to capture and hold the Gaza Strip until we dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.”
“Today, we’re closer than ever since the disastrous disengagement plan to being forced to recapture parts or all of the Gaza Strip,” he said referring to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the coastal enclave in 2005, which saw the government of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon forcibly expel more than 8,500 Jews from Gush Katif, a group of Jewish towns in Gaza. “If that is the only way we can guarantee long-term quiet and security for our citizens, then that is what we will do.
“We won’t allow anyone to deter us,” said Erdan.
Intelligence Minister and fellow security council member Israel Katz confirmed Erdan’s assessment.
“Following the recent events in the south—the violence along the fence, the burning of fields and the firing of hundreds of rockets at Israeli communities—we are now closer to a no-choice war against Hamas in Gaza,” said Katz. “We must strike hard to restore deterrence.”
He said that under his ideal policy on Gaza, Hamas leaders who attempt to kill Israeli soldiers or citizens “would pay with their heads,” and that since the last Gaza war, he believes that Israel should “disengage from any civilian responsibility for Gaza—no fuel, no electricity and certainly no salaries for members of Hamas.”
“There is no political solution to the Gaza issue, and there is no such thing as a stable arrangement with Hamas,” stressed Katz. “Israel must strike at Hamas in order to restore the deterrence that has been eroded.”