Daily Israel Report

IDF Commander: Hamas Won't Strike Back

Col. Hermoni of the IDF southern brigade says Hamas won't react to IDF targeted killings because it wants to 'maintain peace.'
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/28/2011, 8:18 PM

IAF F-16
IAF F-16
IDF Photo

The commander of the IDF Southern Brigade, Colonel Tal Hermoni, doesn't believe Hamas will react to IDF strikes targeting Islamic Jihad.

On Tuesday a pair of IDF airstrikes killed Kafarneh Rami Daoud Jaber, 27, an Islamic Jihad terrorist from Jabaliya, and Hazam Alsaker Muhammad Saadi, 26, an Islamic Jihad terrorist from Beit Hanoun.

Hermoni, briefing reporters on Wednesday, said he believed Hamas would look not react to the targeted assassinations because it "has an interest in preserving the peace in the region."

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday openly reminded his public that Hamas' goal was the destruction of Israel.

Referring to remarks IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz made Tuesday, that Israel would not be able to "escape" a major incursion in Gaza, Hermoni said "deterrence has been achieved and stands strong."

At the same time, Hermoni said "We are prepared to undertake further deterrent to renew and restore peace to the south. If there are cracks, we will close them."

It was unclear why, if deterrence has been achieved, the IDF would need to "renew and restore peace” in the south.

Critics of the IDF airstrikes-for-rockets strategy vis-a-vis Gaza say it has proved ineffective, noting that thousands of rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel's southern communities by Gaza terrorists since Operation Cast Lead three years ago.

Those critics also assert that then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert caved to international pressure and did not let the IDF achieve its goal of uprooting the terror infrastructure in Gaza.

Gantz joined his predecessors Shaul Mofaz, Moshe Yaalon, Dan Halutz, and Gabi Ashkenazi in calling for "further deterrent" in the form of a major ground operation in Gaza. Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant (ret.) and Interior Minister Yitzkah Aharonovitch have also called for decisive action in Gaza.