The once and perhaps very-soon-again Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview yesterday on the battle to topple Hamas in Gaza. Read the whole thing. Key exchanges:
Q. In the short-term, what needs to happen. Can there be a ceasefire with Hamas?
A. “I think we want to make sure that the firing of rockets stops, but also that the capability to fire future rockets is also stopped.”
Q. And how long can this take? Will it be weeks, days?
A. “I don’t know. I think what is important is the goal and not how long it takes to achieve.”
Q. And if you’re elected prime minister in the coming election, will removing the Hamas administration in Gaza be a key goal of your government?
Q. And how would you go about it?
A. “With all the means necessary to achieve it.”
Q. What about the peace talks with the Palestinians, with Mahmoud Abbas, who has been critical of Hamas? Will you be pursuing peace talks?
A. “Absolutely. I believe there are Palestinians who want peace and Palestinians who are terrorised by Hamas. In fact, I think the people of Gaza are being terrorised by Hamas itself. They’re held hostage … I mean Hamas … puts its arms caches, its rocket launchers in dense civilian populations. They’re basically using these people as human shields … My goal is to defeat Hamas and to bring up peace with those Palestinians who want to live in peace.”
Q. And can that be done without targeting Hamas leaders specifically? Do you see Israel targeting Hamas leaders in this operation?
A. “I don’t want to get into the tactics. I think this Hamas regime has to go.”
I have no idea how the war on Hamas is impacting Israeli politics and the approaching elections on February 10. If there are Israeli political bloggers in Israel with stellar reputations like those of Powerline or Geraghty in the U.S., please send me the links via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to read as well Alan Dershowitz’s “Israel, Hamas and Moral Idiocy” in today’ Christian Science Monitor. Everytime I hear some MSMer passing along a condemnation of Israel’s alleged “disproportionate response,” I ask myself if the critics employing that canard want Israel to respond with 2,000 rockets lobbed into Gaza with no targeting. The use of indiscriminate missile attacks against civilians is a war crime. If Hamas had bigger and deadlier rockets that could reach farther into Israel and kill more, it would use those, just as Hezbollah did in the 2006 war. The moral idiots that Dershowitz refers to are counting dead and wounded, not focusing on the means of the attack and the intent. Israel is declaring, hopefully one and for all, that it will not abide the use of such missile attacks and will strike back whenever they are employed and will do so until they end.