The head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau said Tuesday that if Hamas was to make use of a much-boasted 60 km-range rocket Israel would "destroy it".
Speaking at the International Institute for Counter – Terrorism's ninth conference, Amos Gilad said the organization could not be destroyed but that "it's possible to deal with the establishment".
"The good news is that there is deterrence before Hamas and Hezbollah, based on the image that Israel is intent on destroying each of them," Gilad added.
He said Hamas had failed at its goal of keeping the Palestinian Authority from becoming the only caretaker of Palestinian statehood as well as that of capturing IDF soldiers during Operation Cast Lead. He also mentioned that Hamas had been working to keep rockets from being fired at Israel since the operation.
Gilad also elaborated on the connection between Iran and the terror organizations and explained that although suicide bombing in Israel had been weeded out, the organizations would still attempt to regain power through Tehran.
"You can't even imagine what Iran does to help them," he said. "They send ships and weapons, and they have no financial trouble doing this."
He also warned that the threat from Hezbollah would become more severe if Iran managed to obtain nuclear weapons. "It won't be a terror threat but a military threat based on deterrence, and they will have a free hand in committing a large-scale terror attack without fear of an Israeli response," Gilad said.
But on an encouraging note, the bureau chief said Israel was backed by many Arab countries that also fear Iran would develop nukes. "Jordan is a model of the war on terror, and every day I am pleasantly surprised," he said. "We should learn from them."
He also praised Egypt to the same effect. "Egypt is a pillar of Middle Eastern leadership," Gilad said. "I think it is better to continue the stability rather than to progress to a democracy that does not suit the Middle East and could weaken the stability."