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Barak: It's not Yet Time to Conquer Gaza

Defense Minister hopes terrorists' "experience" has lessened "their appetite to attack."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/22/2012, 7:45 PM

Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that what he terms the "tail" of rocket fire by the terror groups after the ceasefire went into force was relatively short. "I hope that after the experience Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza have undergone, they do not have the appetite to continue attacking."

"Whenever the rounds of fighting get more frequent, as happened now, there is no choice but to mount an operation," he explained to IDF Radio. "The idea is to postpone the next round as much as possible by hitting the other side hard."  

Asked by Channel 2 about the public's disappointment with the way the operation ended, Barak said that it is the government and not the public that must make such decisions. "I remember situations in which 80% of the Israeli public supported a certain decision, and ten days later it turned out to be a very big failure," he added.

Defending the decision to stop the operation, he said: "The leadership has the appropriate tools.  It is still not time to enter Gaza in a very wide operation and conquer it."

Barak said no one expected Hamas to "go down on its knees," and no one expected it to disappear in an operation that did not include the IDF entering Gaza. "Whoever dreams at night about the beach of Gaza and the alleys of Beit Lahiya has the right to do so," he added. "I do not miss these places. Only bringing Israeli rule back to Gaza will topple Hamas rule, but I am not sure that this would be wise."