Netanyahu: No escaping need to end Hamas regime

Likud chairman sets long-term goals, says that for now Israel must at least decide to end Hamas armament.

netanyahu checks out kassam damage 248  (photo credit: AP [file])
netanyahu checks out kassam damage 248
(photo credit: AP [file])
The basic objective of Operation Cast Lead must be to end the arming of Hamas and the prevention of arms-smuggling from Egypt, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. "We must define the end, not only the means to attaining it, but rather the end," Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel Radio. "We are in an impossible situation. No country has a million of its citizens under rocket fire." According to Netanyahu, "there are two options [in Gaza]. The eradication of the Hamas regime - and there will be no escaping this in the long run - and putting an end to its armament." Israel, the opposition leader said, must "destroy the terrorist base that Iran set up via Hamas. The basic requirement is to prevent this terrorist base from arming itself with missiles in the future." In order to deny Hamas the possibility of replenishing its arsenal, Netanyahu continued, there was a need to put an end to the smuggling from Egypt. "We need effective closure, not words," he said. "We've already had words that were written down and undersigned in Lebanon, but there, too, Hizbullah rearmed itself. Therefore, as opposed to Lebanon, in the Gaza Strip we have the possibility of actualizing the closure; that's the basic objective."