IN THE MEDIA
Israeli soldiers facing a very dangerous mission in Gaza – Ehud Yaari on Sky News
Oct 20, 2023 | AIJAC staff
Sky News “Kenny Report” (19-10-23) – Ehud Yaari
Chris Kenny: Let’s get into the latest news and analysis from what’s happening in Israel. And I’m joined now by journalist and author Ehud Yaari, who joins me live from Jerusalem. Thanks for joining us, Ehud. First of all, we are waiting now. It’s it’s early in the day in Israel. We’re waiting to see whether or not there will be a full-on ground incursion from the IDF into Gaza. Do you expect that to occur sometime soon, especially given that the US president has been and gone? Although you’ve got the UK prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in Israel at the moment, haven’t you?
Ehud Yaari: Yes. And Rishi Sunak was saying something very true today. He said Israel not only has the right to defend itself. And go after Hamas in Gaza. It’s a duty of the government of Israel. Now, I think people have to understand the more we give time to our air force to carry on precise precision bombings of Hamas infrastructure, mainly the tunnels, arms depots, missile depots, etcetera, the easier the operation is going to be once the tanks roll in. So if you ask me for my personal opinion, the people in Israel who are a bit restless about it, not me. I think maybe another ten days would be very helpful.
Chris Kenny: So it’s not about waiting to deal with diplomacy or not wanting to launch an attack while a visiting prime minister or president is there. It’s about making sure you knock out as much of the military infrastructure as you can before people are in there, because once your soldiers are in there, they are facing very, very dangerous situation, aren’t they?
Ehud Yaari: Yes, because they are. For example, they are booby-trapping houses in which Palestinian families still live. They prevent many of the people of the city of Gaza, which is the main target of this operation, from leaving from evacuating south, as proposed by Israel, into a safe zone south of the, let’s call it the Gaza river bed.
Chris Kenny: Ehud, can I just interrupt you there? Because I think it’s important you explain this to people who are not in Israel. Palestinians who are civilians have been offered this opportunity to go to the south of the Gaza Strip, away from the fighting in safety. They’ve been given that opportunity by Israel. But you’re saying Hamas stops them doing that? How does Hamas stop them doing that? And why?
Ehud Yaari: By closing the roads leading south. By threatening families who consider evacuating south. By threatening by threats. We are, for example, I don’t think people in Australia know it. We are calling people on their phones. Apart from distributing leaflets. Et cetera. Saying to them, move out in time before we are coming in. Because this time, unlike previous rounds of fighting in Gaza, the Israeli army is to go to going to roll in behind a screen of fire. And reach as fast as possible. That’s the general idea. The tunnels where most of the leadership, military leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are hiding now, where they keep most of their fighters and we want to get there, not to go into the tunnels, not to send our boys into the tunnels. There are other ways to deal with the tunnels. Just return to it can turn into a death trap for many of the fighters of Hamas.
Chris Kenny: Yeah it will be horrific, but necessary. You mentioned that the top that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has said that the Israeli government has a duty to go in and root out Hamas. Presumably that duty is because it needs to protect its own citizens.
Ehud Yaari: Yes, because we are now in a situation where we have the, we had to evacuate almost 30 villages and townlets around Gaza. We are evacuating maybe 30 similar number of villages and one town close to the Lebanese border because we have Hezbollah. That’s the Iranian proxy in Lebanon firing anti-tank weapons, rockets, mortar rounds into Israeli villages. And you don’t want your civilians to, to get hurt. So we are moving people out. So it’s two regions in Israel that were or are being now evacuated.
Chris Kenny: Ehud Yaari, thanks so much for joining us. Stay safe.
Ehud Yaari: That’s my pleasure. Thank you.
Chris Kenny: Ehud Yaari, journalist and commentator and author.