'Ceasefire, but no negotiations with Hamas'

Construction Minister Yoav Galant discusses possibility of joining Likud, why Hezbollah and Iran or bigger threats than Hamas.

Nitzan Kedar ,

Yoav Galant
Yoav Galant
Flash 90

The Likud is still trying to preserve the narrow government, but at the same time, the names of new players are being raised for the upcoming elections.

One of the names being discussed is that of name of Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant. He has been named as a potential candidate in the Likud primaries, which is expected to run with the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and perhaps as a candidate of the defense portfolio from the next government.

"I am a member of Kulanu and a minister on its behalf, and I will remain in this situation as long as it depends on me," he says in an interview with Besheva. "I have never concealed that in my political and security positions I am closer to Likud's positions, and I feel that I am not the only one in the Kulanu party in this situation."

Does the role of Defense Minister appeal to you?

"I devoted my entire life to the security of the state. I joined the naval commando unit 42 years ago, served 35 years in the army, and shortly after I was released I entered the political arena. I have been sitting in the cabinet for the past four years. In the end I am a soldier in the service of the people of Israel, and what the public will impose upon me, I will do, whether I achieve this goal or not.

The head of your party, Minister Moshe Kahlon, estimates that the coalition of 61 will not survive for more than two or three months.

"My position is that government stability is very important, and if it is possible to create continuity and to make the elections take place on time in accordance with the law in November 2019, [that is what we should do]. This is the preferred situation, even if there is some difficulty in passing legislation, and I do not think it will fall as a result of these decisions. Of course, there is a certain probability that we will not reach this date, but overall, in my opinion, stability has great value.

This position does not contradict the opinion of your party chairman, who is talking about elections in February?

"The beauty of the democratic system is that everyone can express his opinion and opinion - while on the other hand, when a decision is made in a qualified body, then both those who agree and those who disagree, support the matter, because otherwise there is chaos. This is what is good of the state.

The northern front is more worrying.

"Everything that happens in the north has the potential to be a war, and everything that happens in the south is actually a big operation, even if it's called a war," said Galant. "There is no comparison between the intensity of the danger from the north, including its potential to light things bigger, and the Gaza situation, in which Hamas is a very aggressive enemy - but also very weak."

"Hezbollah is ten times stronger than Hamas, so the implications are far-reaching, especially since Hezbollah is just an Iranian proxy," he said. "In fact, the Iranians are creating a reality in which they spread over the Middle East. Hezbollah has also taken a similar role in Iraq and has taken control of large parts of the region for the Shi'ite Arabs. In fact they are making a big effort to take control of Syria under Russian air support. They are working on precision missile factories in Lebanon and at the same time trying to create a broad and deep front in Syria. So in the future we will deal with an enemy that is deployed from the Mediterranean to the Yarmouk River with great depth on one united front, which is very dangerous."

Galant believes he knows what Iran's next aspiration is. "When you look at a regional perspective, it is clear that Iran's next target will be to cause the collapse of Jordan, because it is already surrounded by the increasing control of the Shi'ites around it. The Shi'ites see Jordanians as inferior and a foreign plantation in the area. If Jordan collapses, we will have a border here from Eilat to the Sea of ​​Galilee with attempts to cross it. Such attempts could begin in Tehran and Baghdad, pass through Amman and reach Israel, without anyone stopping them before they reach our border, and this has far-reaching consequences for our conduct in holding the territory."

Is it possible to prevent war on the northern border?

"To make a realistic assessment of the situation, we should look into our faces and look at them. Anyone who directs a hundred thousand missiles at Israel does not mean good, and does not aim them at Turkey or Syria, but rather at Israel. In my view, war is the last option, but on the other hand, one can not rely on the intentions of the other side but rather have to look at its capabilities If he has the capability, we have to achieve an offensive and intelligence capability that will provide an answer. "

In other words, as far as Israel is concerned, the problem is first and foremost Iran.

"When the Iranians say, 'We intend to destroy the cancerous tumor called Israel,' as I put it, I take them seriously. I do not underestimate and learn from past experience, and especially from the experience of the Jewish people .

In light of the recent battle on the Gaza border, the question of restraint also arises. Galant is realistic and not optimistic about preventing a significant conflagration against Hamas in Gaza within the foreseeable future.

Can we avoid a war on the Gaza border?

"I think that we will reach a broad battle in Gaza, and this is a matter of time, and I hope that this will not happen soon, but that too is possible, But we cannot determine the timing or the conditions. I have no doubt that the end of the last act, like the last few months, is something we can not accept.

Did Israel act correctly when it sought a cease-fire, and did not otherwise act to strike Hamas more severely?

"Basically, there is no such situation as the firing of one rocket into Israel or the sending of a single Molotov cocktail, which is a challenge to our presence, no less than an act of terror, yet you do not always answer immediately when you have different reasons and priorities "If we reduce things to those 48 hours, it would not have ended, but if we look at the overall process of the last ten years, we are going to narrow Hamas' legs, and we will come back for them later. I repeat that Yahya Sinwar will not end his life in an old-age home.

So yes to a ceasefire, but no to negotiations with Hamas?

"In terms of a cease-fire, there is someone to talk to, because the other side has a lot to lose, and there is someone to talk to, even if through a third party, because they need food and fuel.

"When you look at the long term and ask what is the problem with this conflict with the Palestinians, the answer is that this is a problem going back 100 years that there is no partner or leadership on the Palestinian side. Some of them have dreams, and they think that in the end they will succeed in subjugating the Jews and taking their country. After all, those who demonstrate on the fence do not say that they want to improve the situation in Jabalya and Rafah, but that they want Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem. That they will never accept[our existence. There is no partner on the Palestinian side in the sense of someone who can make a courageous decision and say 'there is a strong and prosperous Zionist entity here that is stronger than we are.'