Yamina MK: Netanyahu, Liberman responsible for ongoing Gaza terror

Yamina MK Matan Kahana says US will come to recognize annexation before election

MK Matan Kahana (photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR-YASHUV)
MK Matan Kahana
(photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR-YASHUV)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defense minister Avigdor Liberman are responsible for the failure to stop the ongoing terror attacks emanating from Gaza, Yamina MK Matan Kahana said.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Kahana said the requisite action had not been taken, and that a military operation “the likes of which have not yet been seen” is currently being prepared by the Defense Ministry under Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s instruction.
The Yamina MK also discussed his party’s ongoing demands to annex the settlements in Judea and Samaria apportioned to Israel under the Trump peace plan before the election, saying that despite the vocal opposition from the White House, the US administration would eventually accept such a step.
Kahana, a former F-16 pilot, said the terror infrastructure in Gaza needs “deep, root-canal treatment,” and insisted that a military solution to the conflict with Hamas in the territory was possible.
“We need to deprive Hamas of its military capabilities, and when we have done that we need to maintain a situation where they cannot restore their military capabilities,” said the MK.
Asked why a new military operation would succeed in the long term, where other such operations have maintained quiet only for a year or two, Kahana said that what is currently being prepared by the defense authorities is “a military operation the likes of which has never been seen in Gaza.”
And he rejected the idea that a medium-term accord to halt the violence could be achieved with Hamas.
“At the moment, a terror group controls Gaza, which only wants to attack Israel at every moment, and you can’t talk about an accord when the regime is a rule of terror that just wants to try and kill Israelis,” said Kahana.
The MK said the outgoing government “did not [act] with sufficient strength against Hamas.”
Asked who is responsible for the failure to adequately deal with the ongoing rocket and IED attacks from Gaza, Kahana said “the defense minister and the prime minister,” in reference to Liberman and Netanyahu.
Turning to the issue of annexing the settlements as laid out in the Trump peace plan, something right-wing leaders initially believed would happen before the elections, Kahana said his party would continue to press for such a step despite the opposition of the Trump administration.
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner has said any annexation should come after the elections, and US Ambassador David Friedman has even said that annexing before the elections could result in Trump’s administration refusing to recognize the step.
Kahana said, however, that there was “an unusual political opportunity” at present, since, he claimed, there is a majority in the cabinet and in the Knesset for such measures, a situation Yamina is worried will not return after the election.
“Even if this creates some kind of friction, it is a price that we need to pay to take advantage of the opportunity of applying Israeli law to the settlements.
Asked if the price would be the US refusing to recognize the annexation, Kahana said “we estimate that at the end of day, the US administration will recognize this step and believes in it, because the US administration is our friend and it believes that it [the territory] belongs to us.”
Although Yamina seeks to implement the annexation of territory in the West Bank allowed under the Trump plan, it nevertheless rejects in practice and principal its requirement to establish a Palestinian state.
Challenged as to whether this is a consistent and honest position, Kahana insisted that only Israel could make such decisions.
“As the people who actually live in the State of Israel, we know what is good for us,” he said.“We are happy that we have such a great friend in the White House, but in the end only we are responsible when it comes to our security.
“We know that any sovereignty in the form of a state will create a terror state in the heart of the State of Israel, which is something that, with all our love for President Trump, we cannot agree to.”