Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday that Israel’s security will improve gradually with time after it withdraws from the Gaza Strip this summer.

Mofaz also said he ‘unequivocally’ opposes demolishing settlers’ homes after they are evacuated, saying it would endanger soldiers’ lives.

‘I think our security situation the day after the evacuation will improve over time. I also hope the number of civilian and military casualties will diminish to a minimum. This has to be looked at as a process and not as a point in time immediately after the evacuation.’ Mofaz told Israel Radio.

Mofaz expects that departing Gaza will allow Israel better security at a much lower cost.

The Israeli defense minister cautioned that razing settler’ homes would force an extension to the pullout operation, forcing soldiers to remain in hostile territory for a long time.

“I am not willing as Israel’s defense minister to endanger soldiers to demolish settlers’ houses,’ he said.

‘The defense establishment has concluded that it is not right to demolish the settlers’ homes,’ Mofaz affirmed.