Daily Israel Report

MK Dichter: Improve Iron Dome Ahead of Gaza Operation

MK Avi Dichter says Israel should significantly improve the Iron Dome system ahead of an unavoidable ground operation in Gaza.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/19/2012, 5:44 AM

MK Avi Dichter
MK Avi Dichter
Flash 90

MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) on Sunday said that Israel should prepare for a major ground operation in Gaza, to deal with the terrorist state that has been formed in the coastal enclave.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Dichter, who is a resident of Ashkelon which has been suffering from rocket attacks and who also headed the Southern District of the Israel Security Agency, said that Israel cannot agree to the reality that has been created in Gaza in recent years. He noted that Gaza is run by a terrorist organization that has managed to develop real military capabilities.

He also noted the additional change that has occurred in Gaza as Hamas, a terrorist organization with 20,000 military men, has begun to sever its ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and at the same time is strengthening its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The Islamic Jihad has entered the vacuum left by Hamas, said Dichter, and it has 5,000 men with a military capability similar to that of Hamas.

In order to deal with this reality, Israel should significantly expand the Iron Dome system as part of preparations for military action, according to Dichter. “The scope of the batteries and the quantity of missiles of Iron Dome right now is unlikely to be enough in the face of the threat from Gaza,” he said, adding that in order for Israel to prepare to “destroy the military infrastructure” in Gaza, it should strengthen Iron Dome so that eventually, when the IDF enters Gaza for a long operation which may continue for over a year and a half, the home front will be better protected.

He added that after it prepares to protect Israeli citizens against rockets, the IDF will have to enter Gaza for a ground operation that will include arrests, investigations and other activities that will persist over many months.

Dichter, who officially announced last month that he will run for the leadership of the Kadima party, addressed the upcoming primaries in the party, which will be held on March 27.

Dichter rejected the calls that have been made to him to drop out of the race and support MK Shaul Mofaz, thus preventing current leader MK Tzipi Livni from winning. He explained that the main difference between him and the other candidates is the point which he raised at the outset of his campaign, that upon winning, he plans to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition.

“It cannot that be a party with 28 seats does not affect processes and deal with challenges,” he said. “The party headed by me will enter negotiations with the coalition to influence things from the inside. Unfortunately the other candidates do not deal with issues of principle but only care about who will win the election. This is very nice but irrelevant.”