The Israeli government must immediately get back two precious commodities it has lost: Gilad Shalit, and its power of deterrence
The demand for Shalit's return to his home, his parents and to the IDF must be sharp and explicit. There must be no room left for "interpretation" or compromise.
The abduction of Gilad Shalit, as well as the deaths of two comrades is not an isolated incident. Rather, it is the product of a long process, during which Israel has lost its power of deterrence against the Palestinian enemy. The new government's so-called "policy of restraint" has been interpreted as weakness – and Israel cannot afford to appear weak.
Last Sunday I visited Sderot, an Israeli city well within the Green Line. In the 10 months since disengagement, Sderot and other Negev towns have suffered approximately 600 Qassam Rocket attacks. I met mothers who send their children to nursery schools and kindergartens with fear in their hearts, who harbor only one prayer for the rest of the day: "Please, let them come home safely."
The power of deterrence is a vital asset for Israel as we are engaged in a battle for our existence. Defense Minister Peretz, himself a resident of Sderot, promised there less than a week ago that "within 10 hours there will be a substantial improvement in the security situation."
The deadline passed – but nothing.
Empty statements are not sufficient to create deterrence. The key is our faith and our responsibility not to accept rocket attacks on our women and children. The murderous enemy must understand that we will not agree to sit as sitting ducks.
The time has long passed for Israel to use its power against those who murder our people and hide behind their civilians. Deterrence requires faith: Faith in ourselves and in our power – and making the enemy internalize the fact that we mean what we say.
Strong deterrence is also the real key to the swift, healthy return of Gilad Shalit.
Therefore, we in the Likud propose setting past differences aside.
We expect the government to "drop the (figurative) gloves", and to allow IDF officers and fighters to work to restore Israel's power of deterrence. This is the only way the government can start to begin to correct the mistakes of the past, and can prevent them in the future.
Should the government adopt such a policy to restore Israel's deterrence, the government will enjoy the full support of the Likud, and of the majority of the nation as well.