General Effi Eitam is an Israeli war hero, a foreign cabinet minister, and a senior member of the security and foreign affairs committee in the Knesset. I had the honor to interview him with other bloggers on a conference call earlier today. One Jerusalem.org put together this critical opportunity to cut through the media's anti-Israel campaign and get to the facts.
General Eitam receives regular updates and participates in frequent meetings with Israel's minister of defense and the defense forces chief of staff. He has two sons fighting in Gaza and has just returned from an official visit to the front lines.
It was magnificent to hear a great warrior speak unapologetically of defending the Jewish people. He was clear and concise. It is comforting to know that men of his caliber, fortitude and clarity are helping drive the bus. He gave a brief overview of the millions of Israel under siege for years - suffering the relentless rain of rockets from Gaza. He said Hamas' military infrastructure was targeted and destroyed with very few civilian casualities. Hamas has been beaten and has suffered a lot of damage - their physical infrastructure and their will to fight have been melted. He thinks the population has turned his back on this brutal, irresponsible leadership. They are captives now of this irresponsibility of government.
He discussed the depravity of the Hamas thugs, their use of human shields and residential homes as firing bases. Shockingly, he revealed that Hamas was shooting civilians in the feet to stop them from running away.
I asked Eitam if the massive anti-Israel, Jew hating rallies across the world had effected Israeli resolve. Was it affecting popular opinion or was Israel focused on her objective? Eitam said Israel was somewhat surprised - not by the reaction in the Arab world. It's to be expected in Islamic countries. But the rallies in Europe and the US were troubling and the result of large Arab immigration.
1. Israel will continue with its assault for another two weeks. Rather than enter into to Gaza City and fight street by street, Israel will invite the Gazans to leave the city and go to the sand dunes of Gush Katif where a temporary city will be set up for their care. Then Israel will pulverize Gaza City from the air until Hamas surrenders.
2. Israel, even then, won’t rush into a ceasefire agreement but will manage the aftermath carefully. Ultimately IDF will return to Israel.
3. Israel will insist in any settlement that Corporal Shalit be returned.
4. There will be no more smuggling of arms. Period.
5. The Defeat of Hamas will not move the peace process forward. There is no peace process. The Arabs have to choose between the status quo or a fate similar to the fate of Gazans. The Arabs prefer Israel protection to having their own state. Everything is improving in Judea and Samaria and the Arabs know it.
6. Israel is unified and committed to preventing Iran from getting the bomb. From what he said I got the impression that the attack on Iran is not far away hopefully with international support.
Eitam was asked about the breaking news that Israel accepted a truce.
He was... highly skeptical. The fact that Israel has just dropped leaflets over the Gaza-Egypt border - signs of an impending operation to dismantle the smuggling tunnels one by one - lends something above an iota of credibility to his intuition.
He said point in fact that he did not believe it.
He said that he has never seen the people of Israel so strong in their resolve. They are unwavering. Eitam said the lessons of the Lebanon Hezbo war were well learned. Israel learned well from her mistakes.
The audio will be up shortly - please listen to it. It's the real news in real time.
UPDATE: The Audio is up. LISTEN NOW!