Government spokespeople say the goal of Operation Protective Edge is “to restore peace and quiet to Israeli civilians, but they will not say that Israel’s latest military foray into the Gaza Strip is intended to bring about the complete surrender of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror gangs operating in the Strip.
As rockets continued to hold nearly all Israeli hostage on Wednesday, The Jewish Press spoke to Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu, about the current operation.
Jewish Press: Is the goal of this operation to obtain the total surrender of Hamas?
Mark Regev: The goal of this operation is to protect the people of the south, and all the people of Israel.
JP: We’ve heard that before, in 2008 and 2012. But it didn’t happen. What’s different this time, such that we can expect a different outcome?
MR: We will act with determination to bring about peace and quiet for the citizens of this country.
JP: Any idea how long the mission will last?
MR: As long as it takes.
JP: It sounds like the goal of this operation is short-term quiet, rather than a long-term solution to a long-term problem. Is that because we lack the ability to destroy Hamas, or the will do carry it out?
MR: I don’t accept the premise of your question. Ask another question.
JP: Over the past month, we have seen the abduction of three Israeli teenagers, a massive manhunt, the tragedy of their discovery, a horrific revenge attack, Arab riots around the country and now a major military operation. But yet, the prime minister has not delivered a major address to the country. What’s he waiting for?
MR: He spoke to the country last night.
(Hebrew-language TV and radio delivered a 1:48 minute recorded statement last night, accusing Hamas for the current escalation and calling on Israelis to “be patient”.)
JP: The prime minister has not answered questions from Israeli journalists in as long as any of my colleagues can remember. When will Mr Netanyahu answer unscripted questions from Israeli journalists?
MR: I’m sure he will do that in future.