'Israel could have hit Gaza terrorists harder'

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

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

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

 
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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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