Prime Minister Netanyahu explained in an interview on Thursday morning with Kan why he has never given the order to defeat Hamas since the terror group took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007.
“We have done much in Gaza, but we haven't done one thing: We haven't conquered it, because then we would either have to hold onto it and take 2 million Palestinians under our control, or give it to someone else.”
Netanyahu related that his efforts to achieve the latter scenario proved unsuccessful.
“I spoke with many Arab leaders about the possibility [of taking control of Gaza], but nobody volunteered and followed through with it.
“I hoped that someone would take it, but nobody wanted it,” he explained. “So what we did since then was to strike them. After all, you can’t enter diplomatic negotiations with someone who wants to destroy you.”
Still, Netanyahu asserted that “All options, including entering and conquering Gaza, are on the table, in accordance with what is good for the state of Israel,” noting that the IDF is now “encircling Gaza with great power.”
He emphasized, however, that he won’t embark on “unnecessary wars,” and that he would only order a war in Gaza after all other options have been exhausted.
“I don’t know if we will succeed in reaching long-term quiet, but I do know one thing: I do not embark on unnecessary wars. I exert the force that is needed, and I am willing to pay the price, but only when it is needed. Indeed, I am ready to pay the political price [for not going to war] when it is not needed."
“I want every mother and father to know that I don’t send their children into war before we have exhausted all other options.
“It could be that we will be forced to embark on a broad military campaign in Gaza,” he said. “The forces are in place, but that is the last option, not the first.”