Israeli Ministers Say Retaking Gaza is Only Way to Stop Rockets
JNS.org – In the wake of the largest Gaza rocket attack on Israel since late 2012, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza, in which Israel relinquished control of that territory to the Palestinian Authority before it was eventually seized by the terrorist group Hamas.
About 10,000 Jewish Israelis had to relocate from their homes in Gaza. In addition to Hamas, several smaller Islamist terror groups are present in Gaza today, including Islamic Jihad, which is responsible for the latest rocket barrage.
“Sooner or later we will have to take control of Gaza, in order to get rid of the Hamas regime,” Steinitz said. “We do not need to reoccupy it permanently, but we do need to remove from Gaza the option of firing rockets on us. If and when the moment comes when we must retake Gaza—and that moment is coming soon—the operation will have to be a very quick one,” he said.
Lieberman criticized the view by the former Sharon government that the Israel Defense Forces could always respond to any hostility emanating from Gaza. “We cannot allow the areas that Israel evacuated to be used for terror attacks on us,” said Lieberman. “The only solution is a reversal of the process, a retaking of Gaza.”
Steinitz argued that a takeover of Gaza could be temporary. “We retook areas like Jenin, Tulkarem, and Hevron temporarily, but we did not remain there,” Steinitz said. “We went in, got rid of the terrorists, and left. And now that area is more or less quiet. The only reason we were able to stop the suicide bombing attacks of the second intifada was that we went in and halted the terror, and this what we are going to have to do in Gaza,” the minister said, Israel National News reported.