Daily Israel Report

Bennett: Demilitarize Hamas, by Force if Necessary

Jewish Home chairman says a 'merciless' and decisive campaign is the only way to remove the Gaza threat.
By Gil Ronen and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 7/29/2014, 2:01 PM

Jewish Home Chairman, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, said Tuesday that the goal of the current campaign in Gaza must not be limited to elimination of the terror tunnels, and must include a clear military decision that leaves Hamas defeated and disarmed.

"Only a decisive victory will prevent the next war,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Radical Islam seeks to erase the Jewish state from the face of the earth,” he explained. “They do not seek a strip of land or a Palestinian state. Only our annihilation. [Ayatollah] Khamenei in Iran. Nasrallah in Lebanon. Haniyeh in Gaza. Meshaal in Qatar. All of the jihadist arms that are waiting to see how we respond.

"The world watches from the sidelines, apathetic, even pointing its finger and moralizing, without understanding that this is all coming to them very soon. Providing theoretical justification for our right to self defense but denouncing, in practice, our realization of that right.”

The tunnels, Bennett opined, are not the root of the problem. The root is “our enemies' belief that they can win. That if they do not relent in their struggle, we will be worn out and run away from here. This hope must be uprooted. And it can be. By force.”

Applying a similar line of thought in his analysis of the Israeli side, Bennett determined that the central strategic surprise in Protective Edge has not been Iron Dome, but the awakening spirit and cohesiveness of the Israeli nation. “Something is happening in the Nation of Israel,” he wrote. “30,000 attend the funeral of a lone soldier. Wounded soldiers struggle to return to the field of battle. Reserve units reach 130% enlistment. The public throngs at the doors of the hospital wards, offering sweets and love to the wounded. The junctions are filled with flags and wonderful youth. The current generation of fighters and commanders is displaying its courageous and professional colors. Bereaved parents catch you by the arm and say: 'not in vain. Onward to decisive victory'.

“The nation of Israel is united as it never was.”

Bennett's prescription? Give the IDF clear instructions to turn Gaza into a place where there are no missiles, no tunnels. Like Judea and Samaria. "Do not let up, do not stop, until you reach this target – by force or by agreement. Hit Hamas mercilessly. Day and night. On weekdays and holidays. Without stopping or resting. Until the battle is decided.

"The state of Israel is at a peak moment,” he continued. “Hamas has been hit hard. Iron Dome works. The IDF's combat soldiers and commanders are at peak motivation and professionalism. Hamas is isolated. The home front is strong, the nation of Israel is united. This is the moment.”

The world “respects a nation that protects its citizens,” he added. If foreign leaders ask us to stop, advises Bennett, they should be asked politely if they are willing to fight Hamas in place of Israel, then told: “Oh, you aren't? Then please make way for us to do it, until we finish the job.” 

The terror tunnels must be destroyed completely, Bennett stated, not just limited in scope, even if this means staying inside Gaza for another month, or receiving permanent freedom to operate inside Gaza when necessary. But most important for ending the tunnel threat, the reserve officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando stressed – is a clear victory against Hamas, which would prevent the next war.

Bennett finished by saying that he is lobbying with all his might to advance this line of thought in all possible forums, and that he believes that the Security-Diplomacy Cabinet, of which he is a part – and which is headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – will adopt this outlook.