Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said he sees a clear connection between last summer's disengagement, the escalating situation in southern Israel.
"Forty years after the Six Day War, it seems we've lost our fighting instinct. These last couple of years all we've been hearing is that we are strong enough to concede, strong enough to run away, or at least that's how it's being perceived by the other side."
"In order to get the other side to recognize our right to exist as an independent Jewish State, we have to come off forceful," added Ya'alon. "It seems like all we're doing is fighting the losing battle of Zionism."
Ya'alon spoke Saturday on Channel 2's "meet the press", and said he doesn't see any way around a wide scale ground incursion in Gaza.
"The problem in Gaza won't go away, and no one can solve it for us, not Egypt, or an international force," said Ya'alon.
"We have to get to the terrorists, get to their workshops and hit the infrastructure. We did it in 'Homat Magen'," added Ya'alon "and we had our reservations before launching that operation too… you have to be blind to think entering Gaza in unnecessary."
Cleaning the place up
"It's not exactly a walk in the park," said Ya'alon when asked if a ground incursion in Gaza means an all out war.
"Previous operations in Khan Younis and Rafah were war as well… that's what the military is for, to protect civilians. I'm not talking about going in and staying there," he added. "I'm talking about cleaning the place up."
According to Ya'alon, the problem in Sderot isn't fortifications, it's the "terror-state" established in Gaza.
"We'll have no choice in the end, but to go in Gaza with an attainable goal - strike the terrorist infrastructure and defer the threat from Sderot and the Gaza vicinity communities."
Evacuating Sderot gives the terrorists the victory they crave, said Ya'alon. "Our withdrawal was seen as running away, which is why we must think of a wider answer to the situation in Gaza."
"We may have no choice but to take Gaza again," said Ya'alon. "I'm not talking about ruling the city, but if we don't go in now, when their firing at Sderot, we'll find ourselves with rockets in Ashdod."
No partner for peace
Ya'alon doesn't agree with the concept of a two-state solution. Israel has to find the real initiative among all those offered, said Ya'alon when asked about the Saudi peace plan.
Israel, maintained Ya'alon, has no partner for any peace process. "If we had a partner, I would be willing to consider some sort of a territorial compromise, but they consider all land, coast to coast, as being under occupation.
"…we already decided we will content ourselves with the 67' borders, but the other side wants everything. If we keep conceding there will be no partner."
According to Ya'alon Israel is in the midst of a leadership crisis, which can only be resolved by a change of leadership.
"There is a crisis of faith in the current leadership," he said, "and seeing how the defense minister (Amir Peretz)has already said he intends to step down, I assume the rest will follow."