MK Miri Regev (Likud) encouraged Israel to increase its crackdown on Hamas on Friday, in a lengthy interview with Channel 10.
"The encounter with the abducted boys mothers broke my heart," Regev stated. "As tough as I am, and even though I spent a lot of time in the field in the army, it's always difficult to speak to a family who is waiting, at any moment, to hear about their son. [There is] helplessness, uncertainty, longing."
"On the other hand, these families are full of hope," said Regev, emphasizing that now, more than ever, is the time to crack down on Hamas.
"We need to act more decisively against Hamas, to strike at the senior level, to go back to targeted strikes," she said. "This equating them with the Palestinian Authority (PA) about whether they want peace or not [doesn't matter], it must be broken."
"It cannot be that Hamas [can] decide to kidnap and prey upon the entire country," she continued. "To bring balance, they need deterrence. Hamas will have to pay the price."
Regev's comments come after a Security Committee decision Tuesday to scale back the operations for the Muslim holiday month of Ramadan, which starts this Saturday. After the mothers of the three teens gave an impassioned speech at the Knesset on Wednesday, criticizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and decision makers for taking "irresponsible actions," the Security Committee reversed itself on Wednesday night.
Regev added that pressure should be placed on Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, as well. "If they want a better life, they need to denounce terrorism," she said.
The problem is Abbas's
Regarding Operation Brothers' Keeper, the MK maintained that as the days wear on, not only has hope prevailed; so has a serious problem for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"We have not lost hope," she began. "It is assumed that the boys are alive." However, the real test is not the fate of the boys, she said; it's how the PA responds.
"Since no one has taken responsibility [. . .] any government will be painted as a government which supports terrorism," she said. "Abbas's biggest mistake is that he substituted a terrorist organization for his government, and the fact remains that Abbas has failed to bring the boys home."
"This is a big problem," she explained. "He either knows something and is not revealing it to us, or he has no idea what happens right under his nose. Who is responsible here?"
Efforts to find the boys, who were kidnapped 15 days ago, will eventually wane said the MK, adding "therefore, we need to put massive pressure on the Palestinians - now - and let the army do what it can."
Police and security
Regev also related to the controversy surrounding the Israel Police, which delayed reporting on the boys' abduction due to serious judgement errors on the part of top officials.
"Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich himself said this was a mistake, which he admitted during a preliminary investigation," Regev said.
She urged public officials to enact laws that would require a mandatory police presence for emergency calls.
"In the US, if you call the police, someone is at the scene immediately - even if it's an accidental call," she noted. "Here in Israel - and especially in Judea and Samaria - the police must be more sensitive to respond and to what is happening."
"Police must show off their strength in the face of certain situations," she added, "such as [crime in] Jerusalem, rock-throwing attacks, and incitement on the Temple Mount."
Much of Israel's security problems can be traced to a lack of following through on threats, Regev said.
"Palestinians understand strength," she said, denouncing government "weakness" in the wake of a deal to benefit hunger-strikers. "Whether it's closing the Temple Mount to Jews or providing benefits for terrorist prisoners, we must not go on like this."