Mofaz: Gaza op long overdue, must continue - Israel News, Ynetnews
 
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MK Shaul Mofaz at Ynet studio
MK Shaul Mofaz at Ynet studio 
 
 

Mofaz: Gaza op long overdue, must continue

Opposition chairman backs political echelon's decision to launch Operation Pillar of Defense, but objects to occupying Gaza Strip. 'The political echelon must make its utmost effort to conclude the operation by deterring Hamas'

Ynet
Published: 11.18.12, 21:21 / Israel News

Opposition Chairman Shaul Mofaz ( Kadima) commented on Operation Pillar of Defense in an interview at the Ynet studio Sunday, saying he is against occupying Gaza but that the "IDF operation should not be stopped. It was justified to launch this operation, long before the current timing."

 

Mofaz further said, "Hamas and Jihad are still firing, therefore while fighting Israel should create a conclusion mechanism to deter Hamas. If in few months' time the fire resumes, the operation has failed to achieve its purpose."

 

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"I would like to place trust in the Americans and the West, in addition to establishing a closer and more committing relationship with (Egyptian President Mohamed) Morsi. A proper deterrence system will impose a reality of security for Israel, based on IDF abilities."


פגיעה ישירה הבוקר באשקלון, "עדיין לא הושג ביטחון" (צילום: עידו ארז) 

Direct hit on Ashkelon (Photo: Ido Erez)

 

Mofaz also said that "once the operation commenced, all political moves were halted. There are times when all parties join in support of the IDF and the national effort to regain security.

 

"The following days are highly significant. The political echelon must show that it is capable of providing safety to south's residents, without entangling Israel in an undesirable outcome."

 

Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz was interviewed at the Ynet studio, where he said: "I do not think launching the operation was a political stunt. The prime minister and defense minister's decision was relevant. The defense minister has experience from Operation Cast Lead. A military operation is no guarantee to political success - in case the smallest complication occurs, it will have a negative influence on decision makers."

 

Peretz commented on the Iron Dome system, the development of which he ordered while serving as defense minister. "I support the soldiers operating Iron Dome and wish to thank the researchers and engineers." 


מערכת כיפת ברזל. פרי ההתעקשות של פרץ (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Iron Dome system (Photo: Moti Kimchi)

 

Asked if he supports negotiations with Hamas, Peretz said: "I am a man of negotiations; if someone is willing to negotiate with me, it means he recognizes me,

 

"Once Hamas gives up the main element – saying it does not recognizes Israel's right to exist, we will consider it a breakthrough. We are the stronger party and cannot act as if we are the weak ones. We need to look at the long term and wider picture - what will stabilize our region and how Iran's front is falling apart."

 

Peretz said that the fact Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood was beneficial to Israel, compared with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "Morsi transformed the situation in our favor since Hamas considered Mubarak to be an unfair mediator - he always hated them, and in return they incited the Muslim Brotherhood,

 

"Today the Muslim Brotherhood says to Hamas, 'You will not drag us into a confrontation with the US and Israel. Do not mess with us.'"

 

As for his famous photo from his days as defense minister, showing him looking through binoculars while their caps are still on, Peretz said: "Today I'm quite fond of this photo, so I suggest we keep it."

 

IDF spokesman Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai said, "There was a continuous and intensive activity during the night. Thirty hidden rocket launchers were hit and destroyed, in addition to a large terror training camp in Gaza center and armor camp,

 

"The IAF is operating in coordination with accurate intelligence data, making it very hard for them to fire. The launch rockets right next to civilian buildings, we circulated a video showing firing from a mosque, this is the main thing we must cope with. At this point, there are no talks of ceasefire."

 

"IDF chief of staff receives updates from the political establishment but the IDF continues its focused and more lethal efforts to improve the reality in the south. The ground operation option is still in the stage of accumulating forces, the targets are clear and the tools are ready. We use the reservists recruited to practice."

 

Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat commented on the ceasefire issue, saying: "I am not aware of any representative being sent to Egypt, as was wrongly published,

 

"The operation objectives are still the same - restoring calm in the south. No one wants to send troops to Gaza. If peace and quiet would be obtainable by reaching an agreement, it is preferable."

 

Ofer Shelah, a former journalist and a member of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, said that Egypt could guarantee that Hamas would not be armed. "When it comes to regaining peace in the south, the Egyptian partner is more valuable than attacking Hamas. This game is very complicated and so far was properly managed, but we are at a stage that a mistake could be made."

 

As for a possible solution, Shelah said: "If you create a situation in which the Palestinians in Gaza understand their lives are miserable because of Hamas, while their brothers in the West Bank see a horizon of political independence, they will pressure Hamas and might even overthrow it."

   

 

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