Daily Israel Report

MK: Hamas Could've Abducted a Busload of Children

Former Deputy Defense Minister says Israel was surprised by the number and size of Hamas tunnels.
By Shimon Cohen, Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/22/2014, 8:32 AM

Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Flash 90

MK Danny Danon (Likud), who served as Deputy Defense Minister until his recent dismissal, said Tuesday morning that Israel was surprised by the extent of the threat posed by Hamas tunnels into southern Israel.

In an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva, Danon expressed full backing for the current IDF operation in Gaza, which he said was unavoidable. Had the IDF allowed the tunnels to remain in place, he explained, “Hamas would be the one to decide when it wants to infiltrate and take over communities, occupy them and carry out abductions, not of individuals but of dozens of people.

While the security establishment was aware of the tunnels' existence before Operation Protective Edge, he said, it was not aware of how serious the threat was. “We were surprised. We knew about the tunnels but we were not aware of their extent and their size, and so we have averted very large terror attacks.

"We were shocked when one soldier was abducted,” he added, in a reference ot Gilad Shalit, who was abducted through a tunnel in 2006. “What would happen if an entire busload of children or dozens of people from some kibbutz were abducted? These are things that the state of Israel would have difficulty withstanding. That is why this exposure is important. We are pained but we continue to fight the enemy with determination.”

He added that Israel should not be afraid to tell US Secretary of State John Kerry that it refuses to go back to the previous situation, in which Hamas “digs tunnels under our homes after we withdrew our people from there. There are no settlements there and they dig tunnels to murder us. This matter should be said directly.”

MK Danon insisted that he has no regrets over the harsh verbal attack he mounted on the government when it accepted the initial Egyptian ceasefire offer – a verbal attack which led to his dismissal. “Imagine what would have happened if that ceasefire had remained in force and the people who knew about the reality were to remain silent. One must not remain silent in these situations. It is our duty to speak and push our truth.”