Prof. Yisrael (Robert) Aumann, a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize and Israel Prize in economics, spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about the war against Hamas.

''Israel has taken appropriate measures. Hamas needs to be wiped out," he said. "The people of Gaza are not innocent bystanders, but a part of the circumstances that allowed Hamas to come to power. We pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and left them complete independence to do as they see fit. The high society has beautiful homes there. They could have chosen peaceful coexistence; instead, they chose to elect Hamas, shortly after we pulled out of there. Instead of peaceful coexistence, the population of Gaza chose to elevate Hamas to positions of power. We cannot ignore that, although we do not, at any time, target civilians.''

Prof. Aumann says that the war has highlighted the importance of Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria: ''I was very much against the expulsion from Gush Katif. In a way, it has strengthened our will to remain in Judea and Samaria, and it is very important that not only the army but the so-called settlers remain there. Legitimate Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria because without it, we could be accused of colonialism. If it were only the army, people could say that we are an 'occupying force.' We are not occupying; we belong in Gaza, in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan Heights. We have come back after two thousand years - two thousand years during which there has been a continuous Jewish presence in all these areas. We are not colonialists, we belong there."

"It is important that people in Tel Aviv, who call the people in Judea and Samaria 'messianic stargazers,' understand that the people in Judea and Samaria are protecting them, legitimizing the army's presence there and preventing the same kind of massacre we saw in the Gaza region from happening in central Israel."

He also noted the complexities involved in the prisoner exchange deal.

''I think the desire to see the hostages returned safely is understandable, and I am glad that I am not in the position of being the father or great-grandfather of any of the hostages" he said. "I embrace them and totally understand them. However, the noise being made in Israel on the matter is negative. Outside of Israel, it's good, but here it says to Hamas that we care about those things, and brings up the price that we have to pay. It may actually bring the price too high for us to pay, and we will never get them back and the campaign will have backfired. indeed, it already has.''