Military expert: Israel must be proactive, hit Hamas harder

Hamas is the enemy, says Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, and the IDF must act more harshly in order to protect Israeli soldiers and civilians.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Major General Eitan Dangot (Res.), who served as the defense ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) from 2009 to 2014, forcefully recommended that the IDF do more to contain the Hamas threat at the Gaza border.

The fact that seven terrorists tried to cross the border fence into Israel on Friday is a turning point in the confrontation between the terrorist organization that runs the Gaza Strip and Israel, Dangot told the Hebrew-language Ynet news site in an interview.

“This is no longer a declaration of a popular uprising near the fence. We are witnessing an attempt to infiltrate Israel by ‘human weaponry,’” he stated, adding that it has nothing to do with the actual number of people committing these attempts. The important thing is, “We see a real danger to the security of Israeli citizens.”

Dangot differentiated between the first few weeks of the border violence and what has been happening since last Friday. “Israel didn’t just willy-nilly go deep into Gaza to bomb targets of the [Hamas] naval force, six targets on Friday night. The rules of the game are changing,” he insisted.

The answer – or at least one of them – in his view, is for the IDF to fully reinstate a buffer zone of 700-800 meters on the Gazan side of the fence that was established after Operation Protective Edge.  The IDF could enter as needed in order to prevent terrorists from trying to destroy the security infrastructure and get into Israel, as they have been doing so often over the past few weeks.

Dangot also pointed out in the Ynet interview that Hamas has made it clear that its target date is May 15th, the secular date of Israel’s 70th Independence Day, and therefore there is no reason to sit back and just wait for something to happen.

‘Change the rules’

“We do not have to wait until then, we have to initiate,” Dangot contended, saying that this could include entering the perimeter beyond the fence or bombing targets within Gaza.

“Hamas is the enemy,” he stressed. “Therefore, as much as we can, we must consider Hamas as a terrorist target with which we must fight, increase the intensity of the attacks against it, and maybe change the rules near the fence. They may not reach the fence….There can be no compromise here. It will save Gazan lives [as well].”

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Such a move, however, would have to accompanied by an international media push to explain Israel’s change in policy, he added.

The former senior officer is one of a number of specialists who are sent by the pro-Israel “Our Soldiers Speak” organization to brief US Congressmen and other Western legislators and policy think tanks on issues regarding international policy, security and defense.