Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said Saturday that Ariel Sharon's 2005 Disengagement Plan is what led to the Second Lebanon War and brought southern Israel under fire from Gaza.

Ya’alon, who was replaced as Chief of Staff just before the Disengagement Plan's implementation due to his semi-public disapproval of the plan, said on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program that the only solution to Israel’s current situation is a return of the IDF to Gaza.

“The unilateral approach that drove the Disengagement Plan has failed and Israel must abandon it,” he said. "The Disengagement is seen by the other side as Israel fleeing," he added.

Ya’alon said that no solution other than reversing the IDF’s departure from Gaza is tenable. "The problems in Gaza won't go away,” he said. “Nobody can solve it for us - not Egypt and not an international force… You have to be blind to think entering Gaza in unnecessary.

“In order to get the other side to recognize our right to exist as an independent Jewish State, we have to come off forceful…We have to strike the terrorists, hit their workshops and hit their infrastructure,” Ya'alon continued. “We did it in [2002’s] Operation Defensive Shield, although we had our reservations before launching that operation as well.”

Ya’alon qualified his statements, saying he was not talking about staying in Gaza or reestablishing the Jewish towns there destroyed during the Disengagement. “I'm not talking about going in and staying there. I'm talking about cleaning the place up," he said. "I'm not talking about ruling the city, but if we do not go in now, when they are firing at Sderot – we will soon find ourselves with rockets in Ashdod."