Israeli army officer women cries as they are evacuating Neve Dekalim
Israeli army officer women cries as they are evacuating Neve DekalimPierre Terdjman/Flash90

Israeli Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope), who also serves as Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, on Tuesday lamented Israel’s 2005 pullout from the Gaza Strip, saying the move had empowered the Hamas terrorist organization.

Speaking at the seventh Katif Conference, marking the 16th anniversary of the August 2005 Gaza Disengagement, Elkin blasted the decision to dismantle Israeli towns in the Gaza Strip and withdraw IDF forces from the coastal enclave.

“The Disengagement was a terrible mistake which should never have been carried out,” Elkin said. “It became fuel for Hamas as a terror group and helped them get stronger and bolder and ultimately to take over the entire Gaza Strip and to attack Israeli citizens time and again.”

Turning to the Bennett government and its anti-terror policies, Elkin said the new coalition “is working to change the equation and to respond to every single provocation and act of terror by Hamas.”

“As far as we are concerned, a terror balloon will be treated the same as a rocket. We need to have an aggressive policy.”