IDF forces on the border with Gaza
IDF forces on the border with Gaza Flash 90

Bar Ilan University professor and brother-in-law of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Hagai Ben-Artzi has said that the IDF should only mount a full-scale invasion of Gaza to overthrow Hamas if the government will subsequently rebuild the Jewish communities of Gush Katif.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva Wednesday, Professor Ben-Artzi noted experts have warned that any such operation would cost "hundreds" of soldiers' lives. Such a cost, he insisted, could not be justified "unless the government has full and strong intention to stay there."

He added that in truth, only a permanent IDF presence in Gaza could ensure long-term security for the State of Israel, and that "no Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and no other 'Abu' can guarantee the security and peace in the region" - referring to proposals during the recent negotiations in Cairo which suggested the Palestinian Authority take control of Gaza border crossings.

On Wednesday morning, Communications Minister and Security Cabinet Member Gilad Erdan said a full-scale invasion of Gaza was "closer than ever."

Turning to the residents of southern Israel, Ben-Artzi urged them to "lead a new movement" to reestablish Gaza's Jewish community, which was ethnically-cleansed during the 2005 Disengagement Plan.

Noting the fact that the kibbutzim near Gaza and other southern communities are known as bastions of support for left-wing parties which supported the expulsion from Gaza, he said: "You were the leaders of the demonstrations against Gush Katif. If you want to bring security and peace to that region first of all you have to apologise and admit that you made a mistake, and to apologize to the people of Gush Katif."