Israeli Defense Official: War With Hamas Unlikely, but Its Ideology Hasn't Changed

Amos Gilad blames Islamist group for Gaza's economic woes: 'Until Hamas is removed from Gaza there will not be prosperity.'

Moti Kimche

A Defense Minister official on Wednesday said that a military confrontation initiated by Hamas in Gaza is unlikely in the foreseeable future.

"This summer will be hot only because of the high temperature," Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau and a former Military Intelligence chief, said. "Our deterrence is still very effective. Hamas will not attack us because it fears for itself."

He added, however, that this does not mean that Hamas is abandoning its armed struggle against Israel. "Hamas' ideology hasn't changed," he said.

"They have patience, they are willing to wait," Gilad said. "Hamas is not willing to adopt any principle that recognizes a true coexistence [with Israel], and the quiet stems from Israel's power and its deterrence."

Gilad also blamed Gaza's economic woes on Hamas, saying that Israel will try to help the economy there in order to prevent its collapse. "I'm hoping that Hamas will not be there, so that the Palestinians there will have some kind of a future. Under Hamas there cannot be one."

"Until Hamas is removed from Gaza there will not be prosperity," he added. "Israel's policy is clear – help the Palestinian population as much as possible."

Gilad said that the fact that Israel provides Gaza with electricity "which is being used to manufacture rockets against Israel" as an example to such efforts. "It's absurd. No other country would have agreed to it, but we do."

Gilad said that allowing Gaza to open a seaport would cause security "threats like we've never seen before."