Yoram Cohen
Yoram CohenMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Former Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen believes that Israel must deal a fatal blow to Hamas, since any other response will deal a fatal blow to Israel's deterrence from here on in.

Speaking on the Uvda television program, Cohen said, "If there is a small deal of women, children, and the injured in exchange for those who are imprisoned - it could be that Israel will agree. But in my experience, I think that Hamas will do everything to prevent the continuation of our fighting, prevent an ground incursion, and it will use this tool of captives and missing in order to buy time, as well as in order to create a situation in which we will need to cease [fighting], and also to create pressure on the families and the military echelon."

"If we desire life, the leadership of Hamas and this organization must be dealt a critical blow, so that they will not challenge us and they will not fight with us in the future - and that is the central goal," he emphasized.

Cohen added, "We know that a ground incursion or a continuation of the fighting will lead to more people injured. Despite this, all of the echelons, and the entire nation of Israel, is united in that we must carry out this process. Without this - our deterrence will be on the floor, in the sense that they will challenge us because they will think that we have no backbone, fighting power, or willpower. Our future and our security are dependent on the strength of the end of this war - and we must do it, because there is no other option."

"In previous years, there was an intention and desire not to defeat Hamas in Gaza, because of the price, and to achieve quiet. The question is what we are willing to pay for this acceptance. Israel paid prices which were not high, in its opinion. Maybe people said that if we give them money and an ability to bring in workers - Hamas will preserve the quiet."

According to Cohen, there is no other way to deal with Hamas, since the terror organization has one goal only: to destroy the State of Israel.

"Hamas wants, and it writes this in its convention - to destroy Israel. The path to the strategic goal of jihad is long-term and violent. They see all of the Jews who live here, now and forever, as 'pigs, the sons of monkeys,' in their words. Twenty-something years ago suicide bombings began. Hamas accepted a ruling from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who sits in Qatar, in which it said that in the case of Israel, there are no civilians. Because in Israel everyone serves in the army, and even a one-year-old or two-year-old child, who will in the future serve in the army, is a dead man; and it is permitted to kill woman and children.

"The story of the incomprehensible cruelty, whether we call it Nazism or whether we call it ISIS, is because they do not even see us as people. They see us as something that deserves to be destroyed and therefore there is no reason to feel any emotion towards [us]. The cruelty also has a goal: to instill fear in the enemy," he concluded.