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GAZA SHOWDOWN

Dr. Dan Schueftan: 'Current IDF Operation In Gaza Must Break Palestinian Strategy Of Rocketing Israeli Civilians At Will'

'Israel Should Not Agree To Ceasefire Without Breaking Terrorist Capability To Attack In Future'

After the Palestinians continued their rocket barrage of Israeli towns, IDF troops, tanks and helicopter gunships were sent into action in the northern Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said their mission was to drive the terrorists out of range from Israeli population centers without reoccupying the Gaza Strip. Rather than halting the rocket attacks, the elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh vowed to continue attacking Israel declaring: 'We love death more than the Israelis love life!' In an interview with IsraeCast, Dr. Dan Schueftan, an Israeli Middle East expert at Haifa University, said the current Israeli operation must break the Palestinian will and capability to rocket Israeli civilians.

'What is now at stake is whether a terror organization like Hamas can deter an entire country' - that's the view of Dr. Dan Schueftan, an Israeli expert on the Palestinians. The Hamas strategy has been to deter Israel from acting against terrorist activity not only from Gaza but also from the West Bank.When Israel responded with counter measures the Palestinians then upped the ante by rocketing more Israeli civilians. Therefore: 'Israel had to break this Palestinian will today, otherwise Israel would pay an even greater cost tomorrow'.

Hamas activists in Gaza

Reacting to the Israeli air strike that destroyed the office of Palestinian Prime Ismail Haniyeh, Schueftan said it was important to also target Hamas leaders in Gaza - there was no difference between the Hamas political and terrorist leadership who have been orchestrating the deliberate rocketing of Israeli civilians. He went on to say that Israeli counter terror operations had proven to be successful on the West Bank. After repeated suicide bombings had murdered and maimed hundreds of Israelis, Operation Defensive Shield had smashed the terror infrastructure in 2002 and since then the level of terrorism from the West Bank had dropped to a tolerable level. However, Schueftan added the sole reason was 'the IDF counter terror campaign that confronts the terrorists in Nablus not in Tel Aviv'.

Dr. Dan Schueftan

Dr. Dan Schueftan is a senior Israeli academic and deputy director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, where he also serves as a senior lecturer in the School of Political Sciences. Schueftan has served as an advisor to Israel's National Security Council, and to former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.

By using civilians as human shields in Gaza, Hamas was forcing Israel to fight a dirty war in order to suppress the murdering of Israeli civilians. In Schueftan's view, Israel has no option to fight this war because the Palestinian threat was existential - the destruction of the Jewish state. He noted that the fanatical Hamas movement, which openly vows to annihilate Israel, was elected by the Palestinian people. Schueftan also discussed the question of whether international pressure would soon be brought to bear on Jerusalem. He said that most European governments, aside from such hostile states as Norway and Spain, understood the reality although they might pay lip service to the Palestinians.

David Essing

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