World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Tuesday said the direct cost of Israel's recent 51-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip stood at some 9 billion Israeli shekels (roughly $2.51 billion).
Ya'alon, who was speaking at the Israel's Calcalist economy conference, said the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system had saved Israel.
It "saved us from reoccupying Gaza, provided security for the Israelis and reduced the cost of the war," he said.
"The cost of an Iron Dome interceptor is $100,000; it's worthwhile, but still expensive," he added.
Regarding stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, Ya'alon stressed the need to preserve the Israeli army's freedom of movement in the West Bank.
"If we do not act, there will be rockets and mortars coming from the West Bank, which would threaten Ben Gurion airport," he said.
An Egypt-brokered cease-fire came into effect last Tuesday, ending 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which saw 2,147 Palestinians killed – the vast majority of them civilians – and nearly 11,000 injured.
The offensive was initially launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from Gaza.
According to Israeli figures, 67 Israeli soldiers and five civilians were killed over the course of the operation – the highest military death toll suffered by the self-proclaimed Jewish state since it lost 119 troops in its 2006 war on Lebanon.
The cease-fire deal calls for the opening of all border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel – effectively signaling the end of the latter's seven-year blockade on the coastal territory.
It also calls for the expansion of the zone in which Palestinian fishermen are permitted to ply their trade to six miles off the Gaza coast.Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2014, 09:46