Ex-Shin Bet chief Dichter says an IDF operation in Gaza could take 3 years

Speaking at the ICT-IDC Herzliya conference, Dichter said that “there is no diplomatic solution” to terror emanating from Gaza.

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September 9, 2019 20:00
2 minute read.
Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee

Netanyahu and Dichter at the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

A massive IDF ground operation into Gaza, even lasting up to three years, is needed to uproot Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorism there, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief said on Monday.

Speaking at the ICT-IDC Herzliya conference, Dichter said that “there is no diplomatic solution” to terrorism emanating from Gaza.

He said he wished that a diplomatic solution with help from Egypt and the Saudis to moderate Gazan terrorism would be possible, but he thinks that it is as likely as Israel winning the World Cup (Israel rarely making even the final round of 32 teams).

Dichter continued that the Gaza operation “would not be two weeks, and would not be two months [slightly longer than the 2014 Gaza war, which was viewed as long for Israel]… but as long as three years” – like Israel’s continuous operation in the West Bank that ended the Second Intifada.

When questioned about what would happen after such an operation and whether Israel would need to reconquer Gaza, Dichter said that Israel would not reconquer, but would spend an extended period there as it did in the West Bank during the Second Intifada.

Dichter did not directly answer who would run Gaza after such an operation, but implied that the Palestinian Authority, which lost control to Hamas in 2007, is supposed to be responsible for all Palestinian areas.

Pressed about how the Israeli government now allows and facilitates Qatar to deliver money to Hamas, Dichter volunteered the Arab expression that "you slap someone in the face and then give him a hat."

"There are no good options, but there are bad options and worse options," explaining that the money from Qatar is somewhat supervised and is better than the alternative.

In contrast, former IDF deputy chief of staff and Democratic Union Knesset candidate Yair Golan said that the main question in dealing with the Palestinians was whether to have annexation or separation.

Golan said that annexation would be highly problematic, and that Israel instead needed to take its own initiative to offer peace deals or take unilateral actions to move toward separation.

The Democratic Union has advocated for new Israeli unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank, among a number of options for stabilizing Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Golan said that Israel is a regional power and that the Likud has misled the public into believing that Israel’s existence is endangered at all times, to the extent that the public has become less willing to take almost any risks to achieve peace.

He added that the changing realities since previous peace negotiations would require changes, including Israel maintaining indefinite control of the Jordan Valley.


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