Israel destroyed approximately 80 percent of Hamas rockets in Gaza during this summer’s war revealed Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at a recent public conference on “Military and Political Lessons of Operation Protective Edge” hosted by the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
In his opening address, Ya’alon said that Hamas has stockpiled approximately 10,000 rockets and mortars by the start of the war. After thousands of them were fired by Hamas or destroyed by Israel, the organization is left with about 2,000 rockets. Ya’alon said the Israel Defense Forces killed 40 “senior Hamas officials” and 10 senior Islamic Jihad officials.
In assessing the Operation, Ya’alon said, “We’ll also have to see how we prevent Hamas and other organizations from rearming – the potential for doing so exists. I hope the future will prove that this Operation achieved a long period of quiet and deterrence not only in the Gaza Strip but in the entire region.”
In the closing address, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Strategic Intelligence Affairs, claimed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a more serious enemy of Israel than Yasser Arafat. He asserted that Abbas’s inability to disband terrorist organizations in the West Bank and to demilitarize Gaza is far more problematic. According to Steinitz, Abbas’s ideology is stronger than Arafat’s since he “negates the existence of a Jewish state, and the right of the Jewish people to have a state of their own. For Abbas there are no Jewish people.
“Additional conference speakers included former IDF Head of Operations Maj. Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, former Northern Corps and National Defense College Commander Maj. Gen. Gershon Hacohen, and former National Security Advisor Prof. Uzi Arad.
Throughout the year, the BESA Center hosts conferences that put Israeli security interests into context. As one of Israel’s leading think tanks, the Center advances a realistic, conservative, and Zionist agenda in the search for peace and security for Israel.
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