RAMALLAH, April 9 (JMCC) - A former Israeli security official said on Saturday that Israel should consider a sweeping ground operation in the Gaza Strip, similar to that carried out in the West Bank in 2002.
Speaking to Israel Radio, retired major general Giora Eiland said that if calm could not be achieved along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip where there has been an upswing in violence, a major operation should be carried out.
There are two options for such an operation, he explained. One is to strike Hamas with the goal of establishing deterrence against the continued firing of rockets and mortars. The second option, he said, is to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza. He warned, however, that whatever regime replaces Hamas may very well be worse than the current situation.
If a more extensive operation is embarked upon, Eiland said, the most important thing is that Israel needs to define its goals, specifically what it wants to achieve and to plan how it can accomplish it. He pointed to the Second Lebanon War as an example of an operation where such an approach was not taken.
He added that if such an operation embarked upon, that there will no doubt be a heavy price paid by Israel. If it results in quiet, however, then it would be worth stopping the current situation of constant fire that we have today.
Eiland said that the best situation Israel can expect from Hamas is a quiet similar to that enjoyed on the Lebanese border in the past five years since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Eiland, according to
the Jerusalem Post
, held up Operation Defensive Shield as the model for such an offensive. Over nearly two months in 2002, Israeli forces went house-to-house in West Bank cities under curfew.