update deskIsrael at War

Ex-Mossad chief: Gaza residents massacred Israelis, don’t end siege

"Do not blink in the closure, do not blink in the blockade. Bringing water into the Gaza Strip was the first blink in Israel's policy," says Yossi Cohen.

Then-Mossad director Yossi Cohen speaks at a Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University on June 24, 2019. Photo by Flash90.
Then-Mossad director Yossi Cohen speaks at a Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University on June 24, 2019. Photo by Flash90.

Regular Gazans joined Hamas in the mass murder of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said on Monday, calling for the siege of the coastal enclave to continue.

“Do not blink in the closure, do not blink in the blockade. Bringing water into the Gaza Strip is the first blink in Israeli policy,” he remarked during an interview on Monday with Reshet Bet, in reference to Israel’s decision on Sunday to turn on the taps in southern Gaza in an effort to encourage residents to leave the north ahead of an expected Israeli ground operation.

The question is whether Israel’s action was the result of international pressure, said Cohen.

Those applying such pressure, he said during another interview on Monday with Kan Network B, “[do] not fully understand that citizens of Gaza took part in the heinous murder of Israeli babies, children and women.”

Israel needs to get the civilian population out of the battle zones, he said. “I don’t want the political hourglass to run out until Israel announces that Hamas has collapsed,” he added. 

“Israel tried with all its might to reach a settlement, and we found a population mobilized against the State of Israel. Therefore, do not blink in the siege, except for introducing essential needs to the civilian population. It is impossible to correct the mistakes of the past, but we can say ‘no more cement materials, fuel and production,'” he continued.

Cohen also commented on the question of the more than 150 persons abducted to the Gaza Strip during the terror rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

“The analogy to Gilad Shalit is incorrect,” he said, referring to an Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas in Gaza for five years, whose release was secured in 2011 in exchange for the release by Israel of 1,027 security prisoners.

In the current case, he said, “Hamas itself is under tremendous international pressure on this. It does not serve its tactical purpose. I estimate that we will conduct indirect negotiations with them [Hamas]; we want to know what is happening to the abductees, whether they are receiving proper treatment in accordance with international law.”

In an interview on Saturday with Channel 13‘s “Meet the Press,” Cohen accused Iran of involvement in the massacre, during which Hamas killed at least 1,400 people and wounded more than 3,500.

“There is an Iranian stamp on this event, unequivocally, they [the attacks] are based on Iranian knowledge. There were other international arenas where Iranian knowledge was transferred to Hamas,” he stated.

Cohen also said that Saudi Arabia “also has a role in this campaign against the terrorist organizations, I estimate that it will mobilize in our favor.” Riyadh froze normalization talks following the eruption of the war between Israel and Hamas, but Cohen said, “I don’t think that peace with them is in danger.”

The ex-Mossad head also discussed the Hezbollah threat in the north.

“We need to be alert in the north, we need to be prepared for a double campaign,” he said.

While Israel would defend itself, he added, “At the same time, when we see President Biden give the speech that moved us all—he surprised us all for the better—when you see the most powerful warships in the world’s armies [on Israel’s shores], I think this is something that causes Nasrallah in his bunker to hesitate.”

He added: “God forbid there would also be a war in the north and American aid would be required.”

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