Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said in an interview Friday:
The moral responsibility for what happened in Beit Hanoun is entirely on Hamas and Islamic Jihad, because we left the Gaza Strip completely, not leaving behind a single soldier. They turned Gaza, especially Beit Hanoun, into a launching pad for rockets on our civilians, kibbutzim, and Ashkelon, while cynically using their civilian population as a human shield for their terrorist activity. They cannot evade responsibility for this.
No country on earth would tolerate shelling and weapons on its doorstep. We have to take measures to intercept the smuggling of weapons in the Philadelphi Corridor, or before the final destination - as in Beit Hanoun.
The real rift in the region is between the quartet of evil - Iran, Syria, Hizballah, Hamas - and all the rest. There is a strong axis of moderate countries: Egypt, Jordan, the Saudis, the Emirates. They are all against Islamic extremism. They consider the Hamas government a dangerous presence for themselves. It's good for Israel to join with these countries that are all afraid of Iran. They hear Ahmadinejad talk about wiping out Israel, and they know they are next in line.
Q: What lessons has the army learned from the recent war in Lebanon?
Sneh: Not to allow the enemy to stockpile weapons and missiles that will be used against us. You don't have to be a general to understand that.