'Hamas are digging their own grave'

Chairman of Defense Committee expresses confidence in IDF ability to deal with terror tunnels, says claims of Cabinet negligence are false.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Avi Dichter
Avi Dichter
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

MK Avi Dichter, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, spoke today (Monday) about the matter of the Gaza terror tunnels, which has resurfaced as a subject of controversy of late with MK Yair Lapid and Minister Naftali Bennett claiming that the Cabinet had not seriously addressed the tunnel threat in its meetings in the period leading up to operation Protective Edge in 2014.

"Hamas is digging its tunnels and in my opinion it's digging the biggest graveyard Hamas will ever have," Dichter said, "they know very well that every Israeli military move against it will end very badly for them. Hamas' raison d'etre is terror, and sometimes an organization of that kind of cruelty can go for suicidal missions in order to bring its enemies down with it, but that part won't happen; Hamas will die, Israel will not."

He made clear that the claims about the Cabinet's negligence in the matter of the tunnels are inaccurate. "As one who is familiar with the facts and figures, I can tell you that there was a series of discussions in the Cabinet in the two years leading up to Protective Edge in which the tunnels, including the tunnels penetrating into Israeli territory, were a central topic."

"Every Cabinet Minister who doesn't attend the meetings has the option of reading the minutes. I assume that Bennett might have been absent and neglected to read the minutes, because that's the only set of circumstances that would explain his miserable and false statement. This is not a matter of who's lying and who's telling the truth, but of facts," Dichter declared.

"Anyone who understands what it means to have a professional appraisal of the tunnel threat would know that speaking in terms of 'it only came up for two minutes', is not right and not serious. There were in-depth discussions and whoever really doesn't understand these things and can't figure out what happened in the sessions isn't worthy of being a minister in Israel because his understanding is very problematic. It's a total lie," added the Committee Chairman, who has formerly served as head of the Shin Bet and Minister for Public Security.

Dichter also expressed his surprise at the recent criticism of the Cabinet's conduct of the operation by MK Yair Lapid, who had previously stated that all was run properly. "I see also the previous statements by Lapid who was a Cabinet Minister at the time, and talked about the management of Protective Edge as being conducted responsibly. I don't know what changed in the last month."