Minister Yair ShamirThe writer is Minister of Agriculture, was a leading businessman and former military officer and is the son of late PM Yitzchak Shamir. He is deputy head of the Yisrael Beyteinu party.
In recent weeks Israel has been engaged in a real boxing match with Hamas in Gaza. This is the third round in which we are called to face an enemy who will stop at nothing and will attack Israel’s vulnerable point which is - the lives of its citizens.
Israel is now at a decisive turning point and must choose between two options: Either it will deliver a crushing knockout that will destroy Hamas to the point where it will be unable to stand up on its feet in the political and military arena.
Or it will agree to a ceasefire that will enable a ruthless and merciless enemy to recover and rearm.
A ceasefire will grant Hamas terrorists time to reorganize, rearm and equip themselves anew, it will give them time to hide and move the ammunition arsenals that have now been exposed. It will also give them more time to produce new weapons and more time for the global media to de-legitimize Israel which would ultimately dwarf the achievement of Operation Protective Edge.
Don't take your foot off the gas pedal!
Make no mistake. Worse than all, throwing the towel into the boxing arena now will lead to a fourth round with much more violence than now.
In recent weeks the IDF has been waging a bloody war against an enemy who makes cynical use of the civilian population in Gaza, turning hospitals, schools and mosques into launching pads and ammunition arsenals.
The IDF has invested great effort in uncovering the terrorist infrastructure, neutralizing the terrorists and their weapons, It suffered many casualties. The IDF has to win, and has begun to see this budding option.
Any ceasefire now is a tactical and strategic error because it would bring us back to the same place that we were after Operation Cast Lead in 2008, Then we were only a minute away from removing the threat, but the IDF was ordered to withdraw.
The price that the IDF paid in recent weeks during Operation Protective Edge is terrible. We must not give up and lose the great achievements we have reached with blood and fire by a ceasefire.
We must let the IDF to win or at least determine the outcome so decisively that it will leave no room for interpretations.