Likud MK Calls for Using Palestinian Prisoners as Human Shields Against Qassam Rockets

Erdan calls for building open-air prison in Negev to house Hamas, Islamic Jihad prisoners as human shields.

Following a barrage of mortar shells and Qassam rockets that wounded 8 Israel Defense Forces soldiers near the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday, a Likud MK proposed using Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners as human shields to deter future rocket attacks.

MK Gilad Erdan suggested Israel build an open-air, unprotected detention facility in the Western Negev, where the majority of rockets and mortars from Gaza land, and fill it with militants currently held in Israeli jails.

Also on Saturday, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that Israel is "very close to a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip."

"We have to find the right time, but these actions give us no choice and therefore, a large-scale operation is closer than ever," Vilnai said.

"The truce is important for us, and also for them, because we control the border crossings and the other side is worried about the strength of the IDF."

In regard to abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Vilnai said "we must do all we can in order to return him, either by way of a military operation, or through negotiations and the release of hundreds of prisoners.

Head of the Yisrael Beitenu party MK Avigdor Lieberman issued a criticism of Defense Minister Ehud Barak following Friday's barrage, saying "a Defense Minister who is not capable of dealing with the issue of terrorism, or of giving a response to attacks on IDF personnel, and continues to plead with Hamas for a 24-hour ceasefire, has turned over the security of the state of Israel to the hands of Hamas, and not the IDF."