Diplomat Ayalon: Israel Must Be Allowed to Shut Down Tunnels

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 06:13 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Any future cease-fire agreement to with Hamas must include the right for Israel to remain in Gaza to weed out tunnels and rocket supplies, according to Danny Ayalon, Israeli's former deputy foreign minister.

"You have these Hamas leaders who are well protected in their bunkers, under schools, and mosques and hospitals. They have the entire population of Gaza as their human shields so they can continue undeterred the war,'' Ayalon said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.

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"It's also a matter of neutralizing their rocket capabilities and these underground attack tunnels. Not only is it a legitimate demand, but it also it serves the interests of the entire region.

"There is no difference between Hamas and ISIS or al-Qaida … Hamas is not part of the solution, it's part of the problem.''

Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said the tunnels built under Gaza by Hamas are particularly cunning.

"They are employing the old Viet Cong tactics that were used against the Americans in Vietnam,'' he said.

"This is something that we knew about, but I don't think that we realized, even with our intelligence, the extent of this huge infrastructure and network of tunnels.

"When you see how much was put in it, all the cement, all the infrastructure.''

Ayalon said Israel had attempted to carefully log the use of cement in the region.

"When we said that the cement has to be monitored, the people of the world said, well, you cannot block cement, it's needed for schools and of course for hospitals,'' he said.

It was used for "none of the above. It was all used for their tunnels and underground bunkers.''

Ayalon's comments come as Secretary of State John Kerry attempts to broker a new cease-fire by involving Turkey and Qatar in the negotiations.

His push has been criticized by Israelis who say both Turkey and Qatar have conspired with Hamas by providing financing, weapons, and a safe haven to terrorists.

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