Yitzchack Ilan, former deputy director of the Shin Bet intelligence service, was interviewed today on Radio 103FM.
“This round was bizarre, we killed a medium-level commander and were hit by hundreds of rockets without responding appropriately. The round finished even more bizarrely.”
How should have we responded?
“My opinion is that anyone who shoots rockets at civilians is a war criminal and thus should be treated. Either he should be arrested and spend a long time in jail or he should be eliminated.”
25 members of Islamic Jihad were killed.
“2,500 members should have been killed, that would have been a fitting response.”
You disagree with the rationale of the government that widespread action with multiple kills would bring Hamas into this round of violence?
“Of course, Israel and the IDF should put an end to this ridiculous saga in which civilians cannot sleep at night.”
Can it be stopped through military means?
“Of course, if Gaza is conquered, similar to the way we conquered Judea and Samaria and cleared it of terrorists. I was Shin Bet commander in Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield (2002 operation in response to the 2nd Intifida), we had to persuade the government that the only way to stop terror attacks from Judea and Samaria was a large scale operation and not surgical strikes.”
The question then becomes, how much does it cost us?
“Israel pays a catastrophic price for these rounds of violence. Traumatized children grow up in this situation. What will happen when these children grow up and go to the army? What will sirens do to them and how will they respond? This is an unacceptable reality. Imagine how the Americans would respond to rockets being fired from Mexico or how Russia would respond from missiles fired from China or Mongolia.”
But we aren’t a global power.
“We are a local power.”
When you were in the Shin Bet and you suggested your approach, who disagreed and why?
“Approaching Operation Defensive Shield, there were generals who disagreed with the operation for the same reasons as today. They spoke of the price, the death of soldiers, and of Palestinians, they said their blood would be in vain. So what? What is the purpose of the IDF? Our civilians are supposed to defend the army or the opposite? We’ve all gone mad! Today the expression is, whoever attacks us, will be attacked. That means we wait until we are attacked to respond. For this reason we are paying 70 billion shekels a year in taxes? The Chief of Staff appears on TV saying we do not want an escalation. Who asked you? You are there to follow orders and do as your told. Why does this statement need to come from the Chief of Staff?
One of the main points of this round was the fact that Hamas wanted a ceasefire, Hamas wanted a ceasefire more than he helped Islamic Jihad.
“I have no idea why Hamas didn’t participate. These last 2 days have been bizarre.”
You participated in targeted assassinations. Seems like a complex operation.
“Not at all, in the intifada we executed 5 such operations a day. I even remember the names of who we killed.”
Are we scaring ourselves?
“We killed a medium-level commander. Once we wouldn’t even publicize such things. When we had to kill someone we did it without too much fuss. We were victorious in the 2nd Intifada with a large loss of life. We payed a heavy price and worked hard. There are no rockets or suicide bombers from Judea and Samaria. How we do this? With help from Abbas? Judea and Sumeria are quiet because of the rule of the army.”