Gantz’s plan for Gaza: After creating deterrence, a regional push to rehabilitate the Strip

May 7, 2019 by Yaakov Lappin -
Read on for article

Blue and White Party leader and former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz laid out his own alternative plan for dealing with the Gazan threat during a visit to Israel’s rocket-stricken south on Sunday.

Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz meeting with southern council representatives on Sunday. Credit: Blue and White

Speaking before a ceasefire went into effect early on Monday, Gantz praised local communities for their ability to continue to function under heavy rocket fire. Addressing a meeting of local council representatives, he stated, “What the State of Israel needs to do is very simple. It needs to increase attacks, to act with great power against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in a manner that will bring back deterrence to the right and correct place.”

Once Israeli deterrence is restored, he said, the second objective should be to “initiate a diplomatic-political process that will harness external powers to this place, and create a situation in which the gaps between the rounds of fighting increase.”

The way to do that, he explained during a subsequent interview with the Ynet news site, is to bring in regional states and the international community to develop Gaza’s collapsing infrastructure, rather than give in to Hamas’s “extortion methods” and allow Qatari cash to reach it directly.

“I believe that if we do this, we can increase the time between [military] campaigns. And we can do this without taking on ourselves this ‘fine’ called Gaza. The prime minister must choose who he talks to. If he wishes to talk to Hamas, he can, but that’s not right. Hamas does not recognize the State of Israel, and until that changes, it is a mistake to negotiate with it. The other alternatives are the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, who can cooperate.”

‘Is the government doing anything to change the situation?’

Such a plan can see Gaza receive badly needed civilian infrastructure and enable Israel to disconnect itself from the Strip, argued Gantz.

“We must return the initiative to our hands. At the moment, the initiative is in the hands of Hamas and the terror organizations. They are the ones who dictate the agenda for the State of Israel. It’s logical for the State of Israel to be dictating the agenda. If they turn to us with force, they will encounter a lot more force—and we have force,” he said.

Israel must also have a top-priority policy of strengthening and investing in the border communities near Gaza, said Gantz.

Gantz criticized the Netanyahu government for failing to take these steps in the three-and-half years of calm that followed the 2014 “Operation Protective Edge,” adding, “I hope they do it now.”

Yaakov Lappin/JNS

“I don’t think we need to ask what we should do when there are escalations. We should be asking this mainly when there is no fighting. Is the government doing anything to change this situation?” he asked.

“What will the cabinet discuss in its meeting? What targets were attacked? Or a diplomatic solution? They should be talking about the latter,” said Gantz.

The former chief of staff, who commanded the IDF during its seven-week conflict with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza in 2014, called on the government to “tell the public the truth. The truth, in my eyes, is that we must launch a diplomatic process, and prioritize the Palestinian Authority and regional states. To say ‘we are not doing anything’ is not an option.”

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.