'Israel could have hit Gaza terrorists harder'

Public Security Minister Aharonovitch says Israel could have struck infrastructure in Gaza, killed terrorist leaders.

March 14, 2012 01:19
1 minute read.
Aharonovitch in emergency control center

Aharonovitch in emergency control center 311. (photo credit: Public Security Ministry)

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch expressed dissatisfaction with what he said was Israel’s restrained response to the bombardment of southern cities with rockets, saying that a firmer response could have brought the escalation to an end sooner.

“I would have liked to see a harsher response, that would have resulted in an immediate cessation of fire on southern communities,” the minister said.

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He added that Israel could have struck infrastructure in Gaza, killed terrorist leaders and had the option of taking up a more offensive stance.

Echoing other officials, Aharonovitch added that there was no formal ceasefire in place, but rather, an Egyptian-brokered understanding that a cessation of rocket attacks would be met with a cessation of air force strikes in Gaza.

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) also called for taking more action against terrorist organizations in Gaza before accepting a cease-fire.

Mofaz said the targeted killing of Popular Resistance Committee leader Zuhair Qaisi was not enough. He said the IDF should have responded more harshly following a terrorist attack on the border with Egypt in Gaza.

“It is unacceptable that there are rounds of rocket fire every few months without a decisive reaction,” Mofaz said. “The people of southern Israel are being held hostage. As prime minister, I would negotiate with the Palestinians while employing a strong hand against Islamic Jihad terror. Gaza is not a nature reserve and the terrorists who work there are not protected flowers.”

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