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Dr. Michael Oren, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy


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Hugh Hewitt

May 31 2018



HH: All right, now let me turn to the current crisis. Also a story at the Jerusalem Post this morning that this week has seen more rockets launched at Israel from Gaza since 2014, that for four years, it’s been relatively quiet. Now, you’re being barraged. What is, are preparations underway for any kind of incursion into Gaza other than from the air?

MO: Well, we always have contingency plans. We have to. It’s our responsibility as a sovereign state. I can tell you as someone who was responsible for Gaza for the Israeli government for much of a year, and in charge of trying to address the humanitarian situation there, I can tell you there are really no solutions for Gaza. It is controlled by a terrorist organization which is intent on creating a humanitarian disaster there. Now I know that’s very hard for Americans to wrap their heads around, as they say. Why would a government starve out its own people? But these are jihadists terrorists who don’t care about their own people, so they burn the supply lines. They burn the gas lines and deny electricity. Even one of their bombs hit this, one of the very few electricity stations up and running and knocked out all the power for the Gaza Strip. They don’t care, because they are using their population, Hamas is using their Gaza population as human hostages to extort money from the world, to delegitimize Israel and create a situation where they can go to war against us and have legitimacy behind them. That’s a very difficult situation. There’s no easy military solution for us, Hugh. Understand that we could send our army in there and destroy Hamas. We’d lose many hundreds of soldiers. We may kill thousands of Palestinians who are being used as a human shield. But the morning after, we’re going to be stuck holding the keys to Gaza, and no one’s going to take them from us. To my mind, the only long term solution is by deepening the difference between the reality for Palestinians in Gaza and the reality for Palestinians in what we call the Judean-Samaria, the West Bank, where there is economic prosperity, there is security, and create a situation where the Palestinians in Gaza are going to say enough is enough, and they’re going to get rid of these thugs. That’s the only solution.


HH: All right, last question for you. I want to switch to the Iron Dome. Has South Korea ever inquired, is Israel willing to sell Iron Dome technology to South Korea which is threatened, as Israel is threatened, by a bristling array of rockets to their north as you are from Hezbollah?

MO: To the best of my knowledge, yes, they are interested. Iron Dome’s a very good system for South Korea, because Iron Dome is designed to take out a stand-off rocket that has a regular trajectory and at a short distance. So if you’re in the city of Sderot, which is along the Gaza border, you have about 14 seconds to get into a shelter, not very long. I’ve run it several times. And Iron Dome can take out that short trajectory. Very, very effective. But we also developed a system with the United States called David Sling can intercept a cruise-guided missile, a missile that’s guided by a joystick. And that is a very sophisticated system indeed. That is also available to our allies around the world.


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