Rocket Scientist Dr. Gabi Avital, formerly the chief scientist of the Education Ministry, Doctor of Aeronautical Engineering, who is running for a spot on the Likud list for the Knesset, spoke on Saturday night to a local Israeli radio station regarding the new barrage of rockets shot into Israel from Gaza, with four IDF soldiers hit while riding a jeep along the border. The interviewer, Shaul Cohen, asked if, with an angry public a million Israelis spending the night in bomb shelter, is the Netanyahu government isn’t performing now even worse than the Ehud Olmenrt government had done, facing a heating confrontation in Gaza.
Avital did not take the bait, saying earlier incidents, in Olmert’s day, were far more severe. Nevertheless, he stressed that it made no sense for a civilian population to remain under fire as hostages, in the name of the hope for some future negotiations for a compromise.
“The State of Israel must decide – no more terror. It’s true that this is an on-going war, but if a million people are held hostage, and the other side is allowed to shoot whenever they wish, with only minor retaliation, not the kind that would bring a resolution, this deems an examination.”
Dr. Avital said the Likud government, with, hopefully a different defense minister (the current minister, Ehud Barak, is loathed by the vast majority of Likud rank and file), must make good on commitments which were made in the past.”
Asked how he would deal with rocket barrages from the State of Gaza, Avital said, “We first must make the disengagement final. So far the disengagement has been one-sided. Israel continues to supply Gaza with energy: electricity, gasoline and consumer goods are still being trucked over. We must block all that permanently. If we are disengaged, then let’s be disengaged in both directions. And then we have to pick whatever targets must be exploded and destroyed in order that the citizens of Israel can live in security.”
The next phase in Dr. Avital’s plan is to “take out the heads of Hamas. Either kill them or take out Gaza as a whole, something totally dramatic.”
Asked to be specific, Avital said, “[We must tell them], if you keep the peace, you’ll get peace. Otherwise, your blood is on your own head, you, Hamas.”
But what should Israel do right now, after four IDF soldiers have been hit?
“I repeat, the reaction must be the annihilation of the heads of Hamas. Not the pawns, but [prime minister Ismail] Haniyeh and his people – the king and queen must go. This is why I insist that we must have a complete disengagement. The way we tried in the past to take out Arafat.”
Avital reminded the listeners of the last minute decision not to kill the late PLO chairman Yassir Arafat during the first Lebanon war, when he was already in the IDF’s crosshairs. “If we had killed him things would have looked much different,” Avital argued. “We would have prevented many deaths among Jews and Arabs alike.”
The interviewer asked if the killing of four Arabs, with 30 injured, last night was a sufficient response.
“I fail to understand the term ‘enough,’” Avital responded. “In my opinion it is forbidden to permit even one Israeli soldier or civilian to fall – and likewise on the other side. But right now we are not employing sufficient deterrence. What’s the meaning of ‘deterrence?’ the kind that would cause the other side to think a thousand times before they dare shoot. Right now they’re not thinking a thousand times – they just shoot. So they lost four men. What kind of game is this?”
How many Hamas heads must be killed tonight in retaliation for the shooting at out jeep? the interviewer wanted to know.
“Before we do that, we must complete the disengagement. First of all, we disconnect their electricity. No more electricity from Israel. No more Israeli goods. And we must pursue a similar attack to the one we launched against the Hizbollah in 2006, which was so harsh, they’re still keeping their heads down in fear. That would mean real deterrence. Today we don’t have real deterrence.”
Dr. Avital surmised that in the current government, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been unable to direct his Defense Minister Barak and the Chief of Staff Benny Ganz to launch a sufficiently massive attack on Gaza, suggesting the next government, with a different defense leadership, would do a better job.
Dr. Avital was fired from his post as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education following several statements that were met with severe criticism in the media. He objected to teaching the theory of Evolution without presenting students with the body of study objecting to the theory. He also objected to the notion that global warming was man made, and he also objected to recycling plastic bottles.
Dr. Avital is chairman of the organization of Professors for a Strong Israel.