Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has a clear vision for Israel's future vis-a-vis Hamas, he revealed in an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva on Wednesday – and it does not include restarting peace talks.
"What they [the Left and international community – ed.] are talking about involves concessions and other handovers of territory, which will certainly not improve the security situation," Katz began, speaking less than 24 hours after Hamas fired rockets at Israeli citizens in Ashdod. "We have seen where it led in the southern sector."
"At the same time, the current situation can not continue," he added. "We must pursue an agreement that will lead to disconnecting us from Gaza's citizens and at the same time preserving the security and Israel's deterrence."
Katz cited the situation between Israel and Lebanon, wherein the Lebanese know that Israel will respond with force in the event serious shooting begins along the northern border; another war would put Beirut at risk, he said, and thus the situation keeps that border relatively quiet.
He added that the Gaza situation is "absurd," since Israel has a responsibility to remedy the situation, but without the power of deterrence.
"Citizens of Israel's south, center, Jerusalem area, and Judea-Samaria should be able to move freely," he warned. "We will not tolerate rocket fire, even if that rocket fire is not directly from Hamas."
Regarding the IAF response to last night's rocket fire, Katz differentiated between reactionary and proactive military action.
"We may have decimated Hamas military targets, but that is not an appropriate response to the flow of rocket fire on Israel," he said. "The Defense Minister may say that we have had a quiet year, but this is not enough."
"I do not believe in keeping the status quo," he added. "I plan on presenting my plan to the government and i hope it makes decisions."
The Katz Plan
The only feasible plan that prevents another land withdrawal, Katz opines, is establishing a secure seaport off the Gaza coast. This, he said, would ensure some export and import freedom for ordinary Gazans, but not require Israel's full involvement as with the security coordination determined between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel via the Oslo Accords.
"We cannot bear the burden of security in Gaza that Israeli officials who signed the Oslo Accords want us to maintain there as well as in Judea-Samaria," he said, adding that anyone who wants to see PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas given control over Israeli security forces in Gaza "sins from a moral perspective and is wrong from a realistic perspective."
"The chances that ISIS will rule in Gaza are much higher than Abbas will ever rule there," he added.
Giving Gaza a seaport will allow Israel to disconnect completely from the region, and relate to it as with any other country, he opined.
"With the Oslo Accords, Israel withdrew from Gaza; with the Disengagement, Jews were expelled from there," he explained. "We have no reason to be there. Why are we giving them electricity and water and connecting them to gas? We have no authority there, only responsibility."
"I propose to build an island under Israeli and international security and enable the Palestinians to trade," he said. "By isolating them there, we are exacerbating the problem; this policy is totally wrong."
Katz did not rule out the possibility of another military operation in Gaza, however.
"Residents of Ashdod or Ashkelon will not tolerate a situation of life under threat," he continued. "I do not believe in stagnation and therefore I offer a plan, or an agreement, that will put an end to it."