General Uzi Dayan
General Uzi DayanEliran Aharon

Major-General (Res.) Uzi Dayan, former deputy chief of staff, called for the restoration of Israeli deterrence in Gaza through a military operation against Hamas following the launching of 180 rockets and mortars from Gaza overnight.

"I hope there will be an operation in Gaza. This is something that needs to be done because our deterrence has been eroded to a point," Dayan said in a conversation with Arutz Sheva.

"Even if there is a kind of ceasefire, Hamas will continue to operate below the threshold of response, to send kites and balloons, on the assumption that we will respond only with a small response, and even if it sends eighty rockets to the Gaza vicinity like yesterday, Israel will not launch an operation. This is called the loss of deterrence.

Dayan, the former head of the National Security Council, explained that a future operation that would end without Hamas being neutralized would be considered a loss for Israel. "It is important to respond strongly because Hamas must be deterred and if we want to deter it, it can only be done through a threat to [Hamas'] very existence. We need to decide whether to embark on a war in Gaza and decide whether the goal is to punish or topple Hamas."

"Anything less than regime change is a victory for Hamas because then Hamas entered the bunkers and even if thousands of people in Gaza are killed, it will not matter to it. It will continue to be in the bunker for a week or two and then it will emerge from the ruins and declare victory. And that's how it will show in the world that Israel did not succeed in eliminating Hamas. "

Dayan estimates that without the support of Israeli public opinion, the IDF would not launch an operation against Hamas. "Why do we recoil? Because of the price to Israel. We fear losses. The main problem is Israeli public opinion. Israel is not going to begin a war that would result in casualties unless Israeli public opinion understands that there is no choice but to go to war."

"Public opinion day is not like that. In the Gaza vicinity they say they hope the quiet will return, they do not support an operation in Gaza," he said. "The IDF needs to present more aggressive plans that include the destruction of Hamas, whether by eliminating the leadership, no matter whether it is a political leadership or military leadership. or by making it leave the Gaza Strip, just as we removed the PLO from Lebanon."

"And if we are determined to harm the leadership of Hamas, it means destroying governmental targets and houses belonging to leading families in Hamas. In this situation, some punishment will indeed be achieved, but there will not be such a deterrent that the masses in Gaza will say, 'If this is the result then we have to stop shooting.' A terrorist organization is deterred only by a threat to its very existence. This does not mean conquering all of Gaza but it would entail a ground invasion."