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War to finish with Hamas

Labor Knesset Member Efraim Sneh: 'Israel's Strategic Goal Is To End Hamas Rule In Gaza'

'Iran Is Trying To Build Forward Base in Gaza'

'Irresponsible U.S. National Intelligence Estimate Has Put Israel In A Tight Corner As Iran Continues Nuclear Weapons Drive'

Hamas members in Gaza

What is Israel's ultimate goal in the ongoing war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip? Labor Knesset Member Efraim Sneh told IsraCast that it is not only to stem the continual Palestinian rocketing of Sderot but to also eliminate Hamas rule over Gaza. Hamas, like its patron Iran, was set on Israel's destruction and the Israeli people must realize that the war for Jewish existence in its ancient homeland began over 100 years ago and is still continuing. Sneh, the former Deputy Minister of Defense criticized the recent U.S. National Intelligence estimate that had put Israel in a tight corner while Iran continues its nuclear weapons program.

'War with Hamas will continue until the Hamas rule of Gaza will be eliminated' - that's the assessment of Labor Knesset Member Efraim Sneh , the former Deputy Minister of Defense. The Israeli public must realize the war for Jewish existence in Israel that began over a century ago and is continuing. Iran, Hamas's patron is a fanatic and extremely rich regime which is buying proxies in the area and building a forward stronghold in Gaza. Sneh said: 'Israel's goal is to end the Hamas rule in Gaza - the Hamas rockets being fired from Gaza at Sderot is the symptom but Hamas is the disease'. Sneh went on to say the Israeli approach is not only a military campaign to quell the rocketing but also a political and economic effort. This entails an economic boycott of Gaza while working to enhance the economic well-being of West Bank Palestinians who are governed by secular Fatah, a fierce rival of Hamas. The idea is to strengthen Fatah in its confrontation with Hamas. The question is what type of Palestinian administration will eventually replace Hamas.

But what of another Israeli option - the much talked about IDF ground offensive back into Gaza to drive the Qassams out of range of Sderot?

Qassam rocket launchers (Photo: IDF)

Sneh replies that the clear message of the Winograd enquiry into the Second Lebanon War was that Israel must never go to war without a clearly defined strategy and he adds: 'Don't go to war unless you know how to get out!' The former defense official goes on to say there might be no alternative if the Egyptian border remains as porous as it has been in allowing the Palestinians to smuggle large quantity of explosives and weapons into Gaza.

Did Israel's closing of the border with Gaza backfire in that the Palestinians turned south and burst into Egyptian controlled Sinai? The Labor Mk could not say if it had backfired but it was not a panacea. The overall solution lies in a joint military, economic and political approach.

Iran: The former defense official said that even the controversial American intelligence assessment agreed that Iran could acquire enough enriched uranium to build a bomb within two years. The 'irresponsible' writing of the N.I.E. was being exploited by the Russians and the Chinese as a pretext to avoid imposing stiffer sanctions against Iran. And he went on to say: 'Israel will have to look to her own interests if left alone in this battle which is also that of Western culture. We are at the top of Iran's hit list and if there is no international responsibility on this issue, Israel will have to face the Iranian nuclear threat on her own'.

Question: Have there not been indications that perhaps even the U.S. is now leaving the Iranian problem at Israel's door, using Israel as a test case? For example President Bush and Vice-President Chaney have both hinted that Israel might go it alone if it felt threatened by Iranian nuclear weapons?

Sneh: 'Israel is not a test tube or a sub-contractor for eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat. We urge relentlessly urging our friends in the U.S., North America and Europe to impose real sanctions on Iran but if they are only feeble then we are in a tight corner. The real lesson of the Second Lebanon War is that the IDF must be given all resources to ensure a clear-cut victory in the next war with Iran's proxies which now looks unavoidable. After its revamping, the IDF of February '08 is not the same IDF of July '06 '.

David Essing

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