Liberman: Time for 'Defensive Shield 2' - This Time in Gaza
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday called for Israel to launch a military operation in Gaza similar to the large-scale Operation Defensive Shield which took place in Judea and Samaria in 2002.
Operation Defensive Shield was launched in late March of 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
The operation was an attempt by the IDF to stop the suicide bombings carried out by Palestinian Arab terrorists. The spark that gave rise to the operation was the suicide bombing during a Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in the city of Netanya, where a Hamas suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis.
Liberman on Tuesday said that Israel should respond to the ongoing barrage of rockets from Gaza by launching a similar operation there.
"We must not bury our heads in the sand. There is a connection between the murder of the three boys and the rise in rocket attacks on southern Israel,” he said, adding that Hamas is trying “to take over the Palestinian Authority and Judea and Samaria, following the formation of the Palestinian unity government."
"Hamas was and remains a terrorist organization," Liberman declared, "and its murderous actions are the basis for all its activities. Therefore the Hamas takeover of Judea and Samaria must be prevented by way of a thorough and determined military operation, as was done in Operation Defensive Shield over a decade ago.”
Liberman’s comments on Tuesday are not the first time that he has called for an extensive military operation to stop the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza.
Earlier this week, Liberman proposed - and not for the first time - that Israel should "consider" retaking Gaza, noting that a "limited" operation in Judea and Samaria against Hamas could prove ineffective.
"We have to decide whether we are going to explore the alternative of full occupation of the Gaza Strip," Liberman said. "We saw that a limited operation only strengthens Hamas in the end; the alternative is clear."
While rocket and mortar attacks are ongoing, they have been on the increase since the June 12 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths by Hamas terrorists.
Terrorists from Gaza launched a salvo of mortar shells towards the Eshkol Regional Council on Tuesday, during the very hours that hundreds of thousands attended a funeral in Modi'in for the three teens.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, four rockets were fired, after several more were launched in over Monday night.
A total of 15 rockets were fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists overnight Sunday and on Monday morning, mostly peppering the Eshkol Regional Council.
Security sources on Monday announced that Hamas launched the attack, which reportedly marks a first since the end of the counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Hamas has not taken responsibility for the rocket fire officially.