Senior Security Official: Major Military Action in Gaza Almost Inevitable

malcolm heonlein
An Iron Dome Missile Defense battery set up in the southern city of Sderot fires an intercepting missile in August 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Heads of local authorities and regional councils in southern Israel on Tuesday met with MKs at the Knesset to discuss the security situation – only to walk out in the middle of the meeting, demanding action to halt rocket fire from Gaza. “More money will not solve our problems, an emergency action must be taken to change the situation,” the officials said in a statement.

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said that “something new is happening in Israel – it is splitting in two. There is the Gaza area settlements, and there is everyone else. Any ‘strategic plan’ must involve a method of ending the terror once and for all. For a year we have heard MKs talking about their solutions. Here is your opportunity, do not push off the action needed. We have had enough of Knesset committees, we need a plan of action.”

In a report Tuesday, Walla News quoted a senior security official as saying that eventually Israel would have “no choice” but to enter into a major military action against Gaza terror groups. The recent “Black Belt” operation, carried out in the wake of the elimination of top Islamic Jihad terrorist Abu-Alata, significantly weakened that group, but the effect will only be temporary, the official said.

The problem is not necessarily Hamas, which is seeking a long-term agreement with Israel, the official said; it is Islamic Jihad and dozens of other small terror groups that operate on their own and that Hamas has been unable to control. Plans are being developed to provide jobs and benefits for Gazans, with industrial zones planned for the Gaza border area – but these plans are being developed with Hamas in the shadow of ongoing rocket fire by terror factions, including Hamas terrorists who refuse to accept the authority of senior members of the terror group.

The lack of a government has placed many of the plans regarding Gaza on hold; some elements in the security establishment, such as the Shin Bet, are opposed to allowing Gazans into Israel to work. The security official said, however, that the point at which a decision will need to be made is coming soon, and that decision will perforce need to be an action in Gaza to increase Israeli deterrence – and to prod Hamas into dealing with the rogue elements in Gaza that are making the lives of Israelis in the south miserable.