Israel had seriously considered a full military reoccupation of the Gaza Strip and viewed it as “the only alternative” if Egypt failed to broker a truce and Hamas continued firing rockets, a top Israeli minister said.
Shortly before the announcement of the ceasefire, the Israeli military commanders briefed the inner security cabinet
on the next steps if the Egyptian-brokered truce talks failed. “A full military reoccupation of Gaza was seriously
considered,” Israel’s minister of intelligence Yuval Steinitz told BBC’s HARDtalk.
“If Hamas would insist on continuing the rocket firing into Israel for another few weeks, or a few months, I assume
that this would be the only alternative,” he said. A long-term ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, between Israel and Palestinian factions began on Tuesday.
The ceasefire ended 50 days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian factions in which around 2,200 Palestinians were killed, nearly 500 of them children. Steinitz’s comments are the first official Israeli remarks on the truce that Hamas considers a victory.
“We have paid a very expensive price with 70 casualties on our side, with people that have to flee their homes in the south of Israel because of the daily barrages of rockets and mortars,” Steinitz added.