"The IDF will have to enter parts of the Gaza Strip and stay there for a few months," outgoing Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky told Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.
In the interview, Kaplinsky discussed the mistakes made in the Second Lebanon War, the General Staff's performance, and the deterioration of his relationship with former Chief of staff Dan Halutz.
On the situation in Gaza, Kaplinsky said Israel's restraint policy against the Qassam rocket attacks must come to an end.
"We won't be able to keep ignoring Hamas' strengthening in Gaza and the incessant rocket attacks for long….In order to dismantle the terror infrastructure we need systematic treatment and the ground operation is a matter of timing," Kaplinsky said.
"Before a ground operation, there are two more steps that we haven't taken yet: Damaging Hamas' military and political leadership and using civilian tools against Hamas."
Kaplinsky, who served as military secretary in former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government, also commented on the disengagement from Gaza, saying, "The bottom line is that the outcome of the move was not good.
"We have communities that are under massive fire. But the disengagement should be viewed in the long term and not with a simplistic attitude. I would like to point out that these attacks also occurred before and during the disengagement," he said.
"Nonetheless, if we had prepared different responses to the attacks from within the Strip, things would have looked different from the first day after the disengagement."
What stopped us from doing that?
"It's a constant debate: When do you want to break the rules? It's a political dilemma that I understand. But I think that if we had prepared a different response method immediately after the disengagement, we may have reached a different outcome."
The interview will be published in full in Yedioth Ahronoth's Friday edition.