Tzachi Hanegbi, a former MK who served as chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, called the Israeli government on Sunday to launch a large military operation in Gaza.
“Israel must destroy the Iranian kingdom in southern Israel. If it does not happen now it will happen in another month or two,” Hanegbi told Channel 2 News on Sunday.
Hanegbi, who opposed the 2005 disengagement plan from Gush Katif, said already in 2006 with the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War that the disengagement was a mistake.
“The Gaza disengagement was a mistake, it was interpreted as a weakness and this weakness invited an attack on Gaza and the northern border,” he said back then.
In a separate interview he gave to Voice of Israel radio on Sunday, Hanegbi said that “there was hope that the Palestinians would grow and develop dialogue with us, but that hope was dashed.” He added that the disengagement “did not contribute to security and did nothing for peace.”
Hanegbi was a long time member of the Likud party but left in 2005 to join then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who left the Likud and formed the Kadima party.
“My heart told me to stay in the same place where I grew up,” he said then, “but my logic told me to join the historical political move of the Prime Minister. My policy positions have been in continuous movement over the years.”
Hanegbi was forced to resign from the Knesset last year, after the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled that in perjuring himself before the court he committed an act that constitutes “moral turpitude.”
He had been charged with corruptly assisting in the appointment of more than 50 Likud Central Committee members and their relatives to various positions in the Ministry of Environmental Protection during the two years in which he was the minister in charge of that office. He was acquitted of these charges but found guilty of perjury committed during the trial.
Hanegbi’s mother is Geula Cohen, who also served for many years as an MK for Likud and for several years was a member of the Tehiya political party, a right-wing party strongly affiliated with the Gush Emunim movement and which included prominent members of Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza such as Rabbi Hanan Porat and attorney Elyakim Haetzni.
Cohen later re-joined Likud and while she is no longer in the Knesset, she remains active in right-wing politics. Like her son, she voiced her opposition to the disengagement plan.