Home Front Protection Minister Avi Dichter
Home Front Protection Minister Avi DichterIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The terrorist organizations in Gaza know that the upcoming elections in Israel are not an insurance policy against an Israeli incursion in Gaza, Home Front Protection Minister Avi Dichter said on Sunday.

"In the end we realize that the terrorist organizations in Gaza want to create a state of terror with no address, in which they shoot without identifying the organization which did the shooting, and we respond to the objectives at hand and then deal with a gallery of terror organizations, headed by Hamas, that cry over what Israel did to them,” Dichter told Arutz Sheva.

He noted that, unfortunately, Hamas escalates the situation in the south not only before elections. However, said Dichter, he recommends that no one link the upcoming election to an Israeli response to the ongoing rocket attacks, noting that Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and the attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981 both took place before elections. "The Palestinians know that elections in Israel are not insurance policies,” he said.

Dichter rejected the statements made by residents of the south that if the rocket attacks had been targeting central Israel the response would be quicker and much more effective.

“The State of Israel has invested quite a bit in Sderot because it had become a target for Gazans,” he said. “I do not think that Israel responds differently than an attack on Be'er Sheva or Ashdod. These are the cities that are within the range of the rockets. They are even trying to get rockets that reach Gush Dan. Even Iron Dome's effectiveness is limited.”

Dichter predicted that Israel will also have to make a strategic move to bring about quiet in Gaza but would have to do so after thinking about the long-term effects. He said he believes Israel will have to make such a move because no one will do it for Israel.

Asked whether Israel has a contingency plan for Gaza that can be used now, Dichter said that the media is not the place to discuss contingency plans, adding that any such plan cannot be immediately carried out and must be adjusted to the changing reality on the ground. In this context he mentioned the change in Egypt, which has become a Muslim Brotherhood-led country, and the changes in all neighboring countries.

"These changes require new thinking about plans we had in the past, but until then we still have what to do to shape the strategy of deterrence against Gaza and against Hamas so that it will last for a while, and I'm convinced that this is being worked on,” he said.