From JPost Updated Apr. 17, 2006 18:03 By YAAKOV KATZ ...
"We are at war," declares Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak "Haki" Harel, head of the IDF's Planning Directorate and a senior member of the IDF General Staff.... The Palestinian Authority... has been taken over by a group of Hamas terrorists and murderers, and the IDF's current operation against the Kassam rocket fire in the Gaza Strip is no different from a war.
But while the "war" is being fought right under our noses in cities like Nablus, Jenin and Gaza, Harel claims that Israel's security situation has never been better during its soon-to-be 58 years of statehood. Evidence of this, he says, can be seen in the results of last month's elections. "The fact that the government can talk about a social agenda is the result of having a strong defense establishment," he asserts.
...The probability of a full-fledged war with Israel's neighbors, he says, is at an all-time low. Yet the IDF might be on the verge of launching a large-scale military operation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to curb the escalation of Palestinian terrorism. The incessant missile fire is intolerable, he says, and the army will continue its attacks on Gaza, which could culminate in a massive ground invasion into refugee camps like Jabalya.
He also says that Israel needs to sever all ties with the PA, including the transfer of humanitarian assistance. "There was a decision on the Palestinian side to create a government of terror," he says of Hamas's recent rise to power. "The entire border with Gaza needs to be hermetically sealed…We should stay on our side, they on their side and that is it."
...Eventually, there will be no Kassam fire. The question is how many steps we need to climb before we get there. But we need to remember that on the other side there is a terrorist government led by a terror organization that at this stage is not dong anything to stop it. And we need to shoot anyone who shoots at us. As the Talmudic saying goes: "Rise to kill those who get up to kill you."In the end we might return to parts of the Gaza Strip, from where the rockets are being launched. The main question is, "When will the Palestinians decide that it is no longer worth it for them to continue firing the rockets while we are striking back?"
We will continue escalating our actions… and it is possible that eventually we will launch a ground operation in Gaza. The main issue, however, is that the other side needs to understand that even one launched rocket is not worth it for them. We are almost there.
...the Palestinians. Why should we give them anything? They kill our children. It is only by miracle that the Kassams aren't falling on people's heads. The suicide bomber intercepted [last month] on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway would have blown himself up if he had not been caught. We are talking about Arabs who want to kill us, and that is why the army is fighting for our survival.
....Hamas is a government of terrorists and one day many years from now, when the Palestinians decide to return to their senses, they will know where to find us.
....We are already in the midst of a conflict and we are at war with the Palestinians both in Gaza and in the West Bank. The real question is whether the level of conflict will change and require that we send more troops into the territories under a large-scale operation. For now, we feel we are being effective. But if tomorrow we feel that our operation in Nablus is not achieving its goal, we will escalate our actions ....
...The IDF cannot leave the West Bank. The IDF will need to control every corner there to provide security for the Israeli people. The difference between the West Bank and Gaza is that Gaza is Palestinian territory, while in the West Bank we control the territory so terror won't flow into Israel. Gaza has one solution and the West Bank requires a different one. But as long as there isn't someone on the other side to take the reins, we need to be in control to prevent the firing of Katyushas or mortars from Kalkilya to Netanya - something that cannot be allowed to happen.