Likud minister: To defeat Hamas, we need to conquer Gaza

Yuval Steinitz warns that reconquering Gaza is possible, but 'will exact a very heavy price.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Outgoing Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who is a member of Israel's Security Cabinet, on Monday morning responded to the reports of a ceasefire and the fact that the IDF did not carry out a more widescale response to the rocket attacks on Israel's south.

Between Saturday morning and 2:33a.m. on Monday morning, nearly 700 rockets were fired at Israeli civilians, killing four and wounding approximately 150.

"In order to get rid of Hamas, we need to conquer Gaza. It's something which is possible, but it will exact a very heavy price," Steinitz told Army Radio.

"The Israeli attacks last night were like the worst ones we carried out in Operation Protective Edge. Then, we brought down buildings after 50 days. Now, we did it in less than a day.

"The other side was surprised that we did not tone down our response prior to Memorial Day."

When asked whether Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is interested in separating Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in order to prevent a two-state solution, Steinitz said, "The ones causing a separation between Gaza and Ramallah are the Palestinians."

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) responded to the claims that Netanyahu did not speak to Israeli citizens and update them regarding the ceasefire.

"I don't think that the Prime Minister needs to do everything in front of a camera," he told Kan Bet. "There are sources in the system and it doesn't matter if it's the Prime MInister or Defense Minister, today they're the same. I really think that when it comes to these things, there are other sources who can go out and explain things to the public."

"Hamas and Islamic Jihad understand the price they're paying very well. Hamas sees very well what happened in the last day, or the last few days. Mostly in the last day, when the IDF upped the ante of the attacks, both with regards to the force used and the choice of targets."