Yoram Cohen
Yoram CohenMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yoram Cohen said on Thursday that Israel must deal a fatal blow to Hamas during the war in Gaza because any other outcome, in his opinion, would deal a fatal blow to the possibility of reproducing Israeli deterrence.

Asked about the need to change the goals of the fighting due to the large number of hostages held by Hamas, he replied, "If there is a small deal involving women, children and the wounded in exchange for several [terrorists] who are in prison - Israel may agree. But from my experience, I think that Hamas will do everything to stop our continued fighting, to prevent a ground entry [of Israeli forces], and will use this tool of the captives and the missing to bide time, to create a situation where we will have to stop, and to put pressure on the families and the military ranks."

"If we are intent on survival, the leadership of Hamas and this organization must receive a fatal blow so that they will not challenge us or fight with us in the future - and that is the main goal," he stated.

"We know that a ground entry or continued fighting will lead to more casualties," continued Cohen. "Despite this, all ranks and the entire people of Israel are united in that we must carry out this move. Without this - our deterrence will be at rock bottom - in the sense that they will challenge us because they will think that we have no backbone, a fighting force and willpower. Our future and security depend on the strength of ending the campaign - and we must do it because there is no other option."

Cohen pointed out that "in recent years there was an intention and desire not to subdue Hamas in Gaza because of prices that would be paid and in order to achieve peace. The question is how much are you willing to pay for containment. Israel had paid prices that were not too high for its taste. Perhaps people said that if we give them money and allow the entry of workers - Hamas will maintain calm."

He explained that there is no other way to deal with Hamas since the terrorist organization strives for one goal - the destruction of the State of Israel. "Hamas wants, and writes it in its charter, to destroy Israel. The road to a strategic goal of long-term and violent jihad. They see all the Jews who have been living here since forever as 'pigs and apes', as they say. 20 or so years ago, they began carrying out serious suicide attacks. Hamasreceived a ruling from Sheikh [Yusuf] Qaradawi, who was sitting in Qatar, in which it was stated that in Israel's case - there are no civilians. Because in Israel everyone serves in the army, therefore it is permissible to kill even a one- or two-year-old boy who will serve in the army in the future - and there is permission to kill women and children."

"The story of the unimaginable cruelty, whether you call it Nazism or whether you call it ISIS, is because they don't even view us as human beings. They view us as something that deserves to be destroyed and that no emotion should be shown towards.Cruelty also has a purpose - to strike fear into the enemy," he concluded.