Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon took to the U.S. radio waves Sunday to deliver a message to Secretary of State John Kerry: A cease-fire with Hamas now would be a major mistake.
“I think that stopping now, with all due respect to the pressure coming from Secretary Kerry, from [Quartet Mideast envoy] Tony Blair, and from other international players, I think it will be a mistake,” said Danon.
“We have the opportunity now to take major steps against Hamas,” he added.
Danon was speaking in an interview to air Sunday night on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s 970 AM The Answer.
He was responding to Kerry’s offer to broker a Hamas-Israel truce, an offer renewed on Sunday in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Danon cautioned against a cease-fire at this time
Stated Danon: “I think it will be a mistake to stop now the fight. Because we will be in the hands of the Hamas until they decide when the next conflict will be. I think we have to take a major operation in order to uproot the missile ability of Hamas.”
“I think we need to look for the long run and for the long run we need to take a major, deep operation and you cannot take any shortcuts,” Danon added. “The shortcuts will be costly for us.”
Danon said the Israeli public is in it for the long haul.
“The people of Israel are willing to pay the price, are willing to be in the shelters a few more weeks to allow the IDF to clean up Gaza from the missiles,” he said.
Speaking by phone from Vienna with Netanyahu on Sunday, Kerry “highlighted the U.S. concern about escalating tensions on the ground,” a senior State Department official told AFP.
Kerry further told Netanyahu he was in talks with regional leaders “to help to stop the rocket fire so calm can be restored and civilian casualties prevented.”
On Thursday, Kerry reportedly also spoke to Netanyahu and expressed his willingness to broker a truce along the lines of a cease-fire finalized after an eight-day Israeli military operation in Gaza in November 2012.
That truce saw the Gaza borders reopen and the scaling back of Hamas’ international isolation. The 2012 conflict began after Hamas abrogated a previous cease-fire are rocketed Israeli civilian population zones.
Listen to the full interview below: