The solution to Gaza: 'A bullet to the head'

Former Southern Command commander says Israel needs to defeat Hamas, even if it means paying a heavy price.

Shimon Cohen ,

Gaza riots
Gaza riots
Flash 90

Reserve Brigadier General Zvika Fogel, who formerly served as the Southern Command commander, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the options for dealing with the situation on the Gaza border.

In Fogel's opinion, Israel "has not done anything," and proof of this can be found in the query itself: "From the question it's obvious that we're not the initiators, we're just responding, and that's why it looks like this. We invest in defending the residents, and that's appropriate and important, but we can't keep limiting ourselves to answering threats. It's like fighting mosquitoes instead of drying up the swamp."

"Until today, we've dealt with the same engineers who made explosives and strapped them onto suicide bombers. After that, they studied some more and started making rockets, and we developed the Iron Dome, after we put up fences and used tons of cement in towns to protect children. And after that, the engineers started with tunnels and a kind of commando in the sea, and now it's youth with kites.

"Where do we want to go? Will we keep chasing after the next invention of hatred? It's obvious that they don't recognize our right to be here, and so they invent things whose entire purpose is to see Jews die, despair, and leave the country."

When asked how Israel should respond to those concerned about conquering Gaza and taking civil responsibility for its citizens, or concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Fogel said, "These are the issues of those who lack a backbone and have no courage to pay the price of victory. They find a problem for every solution. I'm not looking for problems. I have a purpose and I want to live next to neighbors who respect me. I want my grandchildren to serve in a peaceful army, and not an army which is prepared for war."

"In order for that to happen, we need to examine history. We need to see that Hamas acts like a government and not like a terror organization, that it provides services to citizens, that it provides jobs and collects taxes. The public is not gathering to bring down Hamas, meaning the situation is not what they're telling us it is. Therefore, in order to achieve quiet, I would do what we did in the past - win. We were victorious over the Jordanians, we humbled them, and we were victorious over the Syrians, and until we do that with Hamas, there will not be quiet."

Fogel also said that the solution and quiet will come "when the civilian leadership and military leadership there see IDF soldiers in front of their faces and shooting them in the head. And then Hamas, who wants to rule Gaza or all of Palestine, will crawl to us asking for secure borders."

Is the Israeli public unwilling to accept the price of this victory and decision?

"It could be that our public is not built [for this]," Fogel admitted. "And if so, why are we choosing our leaders? So that every two years we can do another operation? Are we waiting for a tunnel to open up opposite a preschool? I don't want to wait for that. It's obvious to me that we will have to pay a heavy price, but we'll pay a heavy price once in order to secure the future."

"The issue is that our leadership doesn't deal with the future, they deal with today, with the elections of tomorrow. They're not interested in the civilians' situation, and that's how decisions are made in Israel. What interests politicians is to be voted in tomorrow, and because of that, they're not going to order an operation that will cost in deaths."

Fogel also expressed a willingness to compromise - with Hamas.

"I'm willing to give Hamas everything it wants, except the Right of Return and expelling Jews. Will it help? It won't help. They have patience and the only way to kill that patience is to bring it to their homes and not wait for a tunnel, kite, or rocket. We need to give them a bullet in the head and ensure quiet."