MK Avi Dichter (Likud), addressed American Jewish leaders about the situation on the Gaza border on Wednesday, saying that, "Hamas are building their underground tunnels, but they are also building their underground cemeteries."
Dichter, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was one of the five members that addressed American Jewish participants at the 45th annual National Israel Leadership Mission on Wednesday.
Dichter referred to the rioting along the Gaza Strip border fence. “It looks as if it’s just riots by civilians,” he said, “but it’s not. We have to confront it. Once they cross, it’s going to be a very problematic situation.”
MK Omer Barlev (Labor), another member of the committee, acknowledged the problems in the Gaza Strip. “The worst enemy is the one who has nothing to lose and no hope,” he said. “That’s the situation in Gaza.”
He added that the short-term issue was the humanitarian crisis there. “There’s no question that we are drifting into war,” he proclaimed. “If you want Israel to be more secure, the situation of the Gazans should be better. It won’t necessarily bring peace, but it will make Israel more secure.”
MK Anat Berko (Likud) saw a more long-term solution. “There should be a confederation between the West Bank and Jordan, and between the Gaza Strip and Egypt,” she said, explaining that prior to the 1967 Six Day War, there had been no connection between the people in the two areas. “We would like to have peace,” she said, “but I would like to be connected to the realities of the Middle East.”
MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) put forth a peace-oriented argument. “The conflict takes an incredible toll on Israel. We cannot continue to look away because it will not go away,” she stated. “Even if we cannot reach peace right now, we have to find some other kind of solution.”
“This government and this prime minister believe that if they don’t talk about the Palestinians, [the Palestinians] will disappear,” she said. “Let me tell you: They will not go away. The Palestinians are the most important issue for Israel’s security. We have to figure out this conflict if we want Israel to remain a democratic Jewish state.”