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Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Yoav Galant
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Galant advocates 'preventative, powerful blows' to Hamas
In exclusive interview with Ynet, minister urges Israel to revise strategic response against Hamas, cautions against being dragged into 'ping pong game' in which Hamas launches rockets, and IDF strikes Hamas positions in Gaza; 'Only preventative and powerful action will deliver a message to Hamas.'
Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) called Sunday for the IDF to implement a strategic shift in its responses to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory, arguing that the state cannot be dragged into what he described as a “game of ping-pong” with Hamas.

 

 

“When warnings don’t work, we need to land a powerful blow, to adopt a policy of preemptive strikes against anyone who is planning to shoot,” said Galant during an exclusive interview with Ynet.

 

His comments were made against a background of a barrage of rockets launched from the strip at Israel in recent weeks, with the latest taking place on Friday during a ceremony held in memory of an IDF soldier who was killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

 

Minister Yoav Galant (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Minister Yoav Galant (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

In what had become a predictable pattern of events, the IDF immediately went into action, attacking two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip using tanks and fighter jets. On Saturday evening, Israeli jets battered a Hamas observation post in northern Gaza.

 

“I propose a more aggressive policy because that is what the other side understands,” said Galant, who also sits on the Security-Cabinet.

 

“We need a strategy to bring about quiet in the Gaza Strip, and this quiet will be achieved through a more appropriate response. When Hamas suffers a more significant hit, it will restrain whoever it needs to.”

 

Advocating a more aggressive policy, the minister added, was predicated on the premise that the continuation of an unbroken cycle of Hamas rocket fire followed by predictable IDF strikes would only result in an escalation.

 

“I have confidence in the IDF security apparatus, but my experience extends over many years,” he continued. “I saw how Hamas operates and how it thinks. I say unambiguously that we must take wide scale, early preventative measures against anyone who is going to fire, and the second thing is that we cannot deliver a soft blow.”

 

According to Galant, the intensification of military strikes launched by the IDF would suffice to rattle the teror group, sending a desired message that would reverberate all the way up to Hamas's senior echelons.

 

“They will get the message. I won’t get into the operations of what needs to be done and what doesn’t right now. I will only say that if we want to keep this contained, we have to hit whoever fires and we need to punish, in a severe manner, after the launches,” Galant stated.

 

It was desirable, he posited, “to go up a few gears," warning that the alternative—the status quo—"will put us in a process of a flare up.”

 

 (Photo: Flash90/Hadas Parush)
(Photo: Flash90/Hadas Parush)

 

Speaking in his weekly opening Cabinet remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted about the number of targets the IDF has struck in recent weeks, reiterating that he holds Hamas responsible, as the ruling power in Gaza, for any aggressions emanating from the enclave.

 

"Israel views Hamas as responsible for any firing at us from the Gaza Strip. Since we destroyed the terrorist tunnel that penetrated into our territory several weeks ago, the IDF has attacked approximately 40 Hamas targets including an additional attack by the air force last night,” Netanyahu said.

 

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