Smotrich Flash 90

National Union Chairman MK Betzalel Smotrich says he discerns within the Prime Minister and the defense establishment a lack of willingness to deal with the root of the Hamas problem in Gaza.

"The source of Israel's insufficiently determined responses in recent rounds to Hamas stems from a strategic trap: Netanyahu doesn't want to topple the Hamas government because there really is no alternative to Hamas rule; he doesn't want to crown Abbas leader of Gaza, and in this I agree with him 100 percent," Smotrich said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

"Today, Netanyahu and Israeli society have no willingness to understand that the real solution requires courage to take responsibility for what's happening in the Gaza Strip, to bring down Hamas, to return there and then we'll take care of the root cause of what's happening in the Gaza Strip - remove the three quarters of the population who were brought there and are being maintained by the Arab states as a kind of cluster bomb against the State of Israel.

"As long as we aren't willing to go to this real root course," Smotrich warns, "we're just getting tangled up in tactical responses."

He says, "Even on the tactical level, the response must be much more determined for a simple reason: Hamas must lose the desire to attack the State of Israel, and which should end with 700 Hamas terrorists killed, at least one for every missile fired at the State of Israel. It should take Hamas a very long time to rebuild so that they'll think a hundred times before launching the next incendiary balloon towards the State of Israel."

The price of hesitation is paid, he says, by Israeli citizens. "It's inconceivable that an entire generation of children and youth will grow with these anxieties, and it's inconceivable that a million-and-a-half citizens enter the shelters for days. Our national pride and honor cannot be eroded as well as deterrence. Hezbollah is watching from the north, seeing what's happening in the south, and getting an appetite."

The main problem facing the defense establishment today, Smotrich says, is that of deterrence. "My role in the next government will be to say again and again that there is no choice but to look directly at reality in Gaza and to change it completely. I believe the Israeli public will gradually understand this and then leadership will also have more strength, courage, and public legitimacy to do so. Until then, we should try to make the tactical responses sharper."

"מילכוד אסטרטגי מול חמאס"