(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

Gaza Turnaround?

General Danny Yatom: 'Israeli counter-terrorism tactics are paying off in Gaza where Hamas is feeling the pressure'

'Israel is apparently implementing a two-track policy going on the offensive while building shelters for Sderot civilians'

'Hamas offers for temporary cease-fire always prove to be phony'

IDF General (res.) Danny Yatom says the Hamas leadership in Gaza is feeling the pressure of current IDF counter-terror operations into Gaza. This week a targeted air strike killed a top Islamic Jihad commander who was responsible for many of the Qassam rocket attacks on the Israeli town of Sderot. In an interview with IsraCast General Yatom said Hamas and the other terror organizations are now on the run and Israel should reject any offer of a temporary cease-fire which will only be broken when the terrorists recover.

Yatom, currently a Labor Knesset Member, contends that Israel's Special Forces operations will succeed making a major ground operation into Gaza unnecessary. Danny Yatom was interviewed by David Essing.

Interview with Danny Yatom

MK Dani Yatom

Q:  We are speaking now with Labour Knesset member, Danny Yatom. He is a retired IDF Major General and a former Director of the Mossad Intelligence Service. First of all, General Yatom, are we now seeing a turnaround in Gaza, from where the terrorists rocket Israeli civilians? For in recent weeks Israeli counter terror operations had killed over 200 terrorists, and this week alone the top commander of the Islamic Jihad was killed in a targeted air strike. What is your assessment of the current situation, and where do you think Israel is now headed?

Qassam rocket launchers (Photo: IDF)

A:    Well, I think the situation is still unstable, and the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad continue, and will continue, to execute terror attacks and to fire rockets and mortar shells on Israeli soil and on Israeli citizens. But I think that there are more disadvantages than advantages, and my main concern is that while executing major land operation into Gaza not only we will suffer and the Palestinians will suffer, but it is not going to solve the problem. Even while we will be there the Palestinians, the terror organizations, will be able to continue firing rockets on Israeli towns and villages. So I think that what we have to do is more of the same. Meaning to continue suppressing the terrorists, to chase them. No one should enjoy any immunity, including the highest political echelon of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, because they are highly involved and very intimately involved in issuing orders and executing terror attacks. What I think should be done is to continue with limited rates, the way we are doing it today, mainly limited in power, limited in time and limited in area, but we should do it from many different directions at the same time, simultaneously, to continue with special forces operations, and of course targeted attacks, so that the Palestinians will feel that they are unsafe, that we can reach them wherever they are, that their capabilities to hide are deteriorating, and that finally we will reach them. They will spend more time in order to fly and in order to defend themselves than to spare time in order to attack us.

 Q:  General Yatom, what can be said about the tactics? Has there been a change in tactics? Because the Israeli special forces operations seem to be paying off, or more successful, in recent weeks than they have been in the past. Has there been a change because of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the new IDF Chief Of Staff, General Ashkenazi, who have taken a new look at what has been developing there and carrying different kind of operations?

A:    No doubt that we can feel the positive change due to the fact that Barak is now the Minister of Defense and Ashkenazi is now the Chief Of Staff of the Armed Forces, but it is not only due to the fact that those two figures took their new positions, it is also due to the fact that, I assume, there is a decision in the Israeli Defense Forces to enhance the suppression, and to enhance the operations by executing more operations from different directions, and to operate constantly, or continuously, day and night.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Photo: Amit Shabi)

Q:  There is then, in your view, a military solution to this guerilla warfare with Hamas in the Gaza Strip?

A:    In terms of stopping totally the terror attacks, and stopping totally the fire of Qassam rockets – no. I can not see a solution that will totally stop the residual last rockets and residual last mortars. But no doubt that it will reduce dramatically the number of rockets and the number of shells, and the capabilities of the terrorists to send suicide bombers in order to blast themselves and to explode themselves in our cities. It is also due to the security fence that until today succeeded to block many Palestinian attempts from Gaza, because you know that Gaza is surrounded by fence and by sea, and from Judea and Samaria as well. I think it is a question of time, and we have to be patient because if we will continue with what we are doing today and this will also be the policy for tomorrow and for time to come, and it will be enhanced even more, then we will see the number of attacks reduced, and I think that it will be possible to conduct normal life back again.

Q:  But at the same time you say it is impossible to stop all the Qassams from the Gaza Strip, which have been hitting Sderot. Is this what we see evolving today - a two track policy, one going on the offensive and hitting the terrorists harder, while at the same time there will be more consideration given to building shelters, reinforcing the homes of people in Sderot today who are not protected from the Qassams?

A:    Yes, I think that this is part of the puzzle, this is part of the means that we have to produce so that we will be able to tackle in a more effective way. Namely we have to issue the people, the inhabitants of Sderot and those who live in the vicinity that surrounds the Gaza Strip - the government should issue them the shelters and sufficient places which will secure their lives once there is an attack. I think that the government is making a big mistake by dragging its legs and not issuing sufficient solutions for the defense, namely shelters. Even if it will cost one Billion Shekels, still this is something essential not only because it will have a very positive effect from the psychological point of view, but also from the realistic point of view. We, the governing power, should issue the minimal necessary solutions for the people, and the minimal necessary solution for the people is a shelter for each and every one of them.

Q:  In the Gaza Strip this week, not only is the Islamic Jihad but also Hamas is feeling the pressure, and we hear that Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, is sending feelers out to Israel that he wants a hudna - cease fire. Do you think that Israel should go for this hudna cease fire if it is genuine?

Hamas activists in Gaza

A:    No, because it is not the first time during the last 15 years. I remember the Hamas every now and then offered and offers a hudna, and it always happened when Hamas felt, and probably feels today, under pressure. The hudna is a way of arranging the possibilities and creating a possibility for the Hamas to rehabilitate its forces. They feel today that they are under attack, they feel today that they are suppressed, and in order to stop it so that they will be able to rehabilitate their capabilities and to rebuild their forces and power, they ask for a hudna. According to the Islamic tradition, once there is a hudna the Muslim side can break the hudna whenever the Muslim side decides.

Q:  It’s built-in.

A: Yes. It is not a cease fire, it is not a real cease fire.

Danny Yatom

Danny Yatom, born 15 March 1945, is an Israeli politician and member of the Knesset for Labour. He was previously a Director of Mossad.

Yatom studied mathematics, physics and computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gaining a BA. From 1963 to 1996 he served in the Israel Defense Forces and worked in the Sayeret Matkal anti-terrorism force, rising to the position of deputy commander, after which he moved to the Armor Corps and then became the head of the Israeli Central Command, ranked Major General. Between 1996 and 1998 he served as head of Mossad, and became a security advisor to then PM Ehud Barak.

In 2003 he was elected to the Knesset on Labour's list, and served as head of the committee on foreign workers, as well as chairing the lobbies for enlisted soldiers and the West Bank barrier. He retained his seat in the 2006 elections and continues to serve as head of the West Bank barrier lobby.  (from Wikipedia)

David Essing

Back To The Top