"We will not limit ourselves with a timetable. We have a mission and we must execute it," said Finance Minister Yair Lapid. The Yesh Atid chairman was visiting IDF soldiers wounded in the fighting in Gaza at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva on Sunday.
Prodded about the possibility that the IDF will seize the Gaza Strip, Lapid said "we have taken nothing off the table. The aim is to remove the threat of terror hanging over the State of Israel, and every option, including the occupation of the Strip, is on the table."
The finance minister emphasized that "we will examine the possibility based on the goals we have set for ourselves. The mission says – we go in, we locate the terror tunnels and rocket launchers, we hit the leadership of Hamas' military wing. We weaken Hamas in a manner that doesn't allow it to operate as it has in the past few days."
Lapid stressed that "we cannot allow ourselves tunnels out of which come out people with tranquilizers and handcuffs to kidnap soldiers and people or blow up kindergartens in the local communities. This will continue as much as it needs to continue."
He said "the targets remain as they were. We launched this operation knowing them fully. We are collecting intelligence all the time. In the last day we caught 13 terrorists and each one of them becomes an intelligence source and gives relevant information on Hamas terrorism."
Lapid talked about the conversations he conducted with the injured soldiers. "I walked between the wards and spoke to the Golani Brigade battalion commander and other company commanders. They mostly want to get back to their men and say to not give up, to not stop."
The finance minister added: "War takes a toll, we knew that the moment we entered Gaza and even before. We were not looking to enter a fight. But we are not afraid because we understand that it's part of the event and we must recognize that it will have heavy prices."
Lapid emphasized "the heart goes out to the families. We wish a quick recovery for the injured and our thoughts are with the bereaved families. That's the price."