In a May 26 interview on Israel television, Ya'alon said Arab
adversaries have been encouraged by Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the
Gaza Strip in 2005 and the government's unwillingness to halt Palestinian
missile strikes, Middle East Newsline reported. The former chief of staff said the Gaza withdrawal led to
the Hizbullah war in 2006.
Military sources said mid- and senior commanders have expressed
frustration over the failure to halt intensive missile strikes from the Gaza
Strip. The sources said the government's refusal to order a ground operation
has encouraged the ruling Hamas movement to expand targets in Israel.
During a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Olmert and Peretz defended their
decision not to order a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The prime
minister, continuing to voice threats against Hamas, has scheduled a meeting
of the so-called Security Cabinet on May 30 to discuss military and
"There is no immunity for terrorists," Olmert said. "Nobody will have
immunity. Simple as that."
Ya'alon warned against relying on the international community, including
Egypt, to stop Palestinian missile strikes. He cited the 2002 military
invasion of the West Bank that destroyed the insurgency infrastructure.
"The problem in Gaza won't go away, and no one can solve it for us, not
Egypt, or an international force," Ya'alon said. "We have to get to the
terrorists, get to their workshops and hit the infrastructure. We did it in
Operation Defensive Shield and we had our reservations before launching that
operation too. You have to be blind to think entering Gaza in unnecessary."
Military sources said the current military chief, Lt. Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi, has opposed any short-term ground invasion. The sources said
Ashkenazi does not want a repeat of the brief and ineffective ground
operations in the Gaza Strip in 2006.
"There is a crisis of faith in the current leadership," Ya'alon said.
"Seeing how the defense minister has already said he intends to step down, I
assume the rest will follow."