First Published: 17:07 , 12.12.07|
Latest Update: 22:13 , 12.12.07
Army chief: Gaza operation unavoidable
'The threat to
the Israeli home front is growing,' warns Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi after
Israel's security cabinet votes against a large-scale operation in Gaza to
battle increasing rocket attacks. Defense Minister Barak: We will find
solution to Qassams as we have for other problems
The current situation in Gaza cannot continue, and ongoing Qassam
attacks on Israel may force the IDF to launch a large-scale operation in
the Strip, IDF Chief of Staff Lit.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said
"You cannot defeat a terror organization without eventually taking
control of the territory," he said, "the only reason we have been
successful in Judea and Samaria is because we control the area."
Speaking at a conference hosted by the Institute for National Security
Studies at the Tel Aviv University, Ashkenazi said that while the current
limited army operations in Gaza impair the capabilities of terror
organizations, they would never completely curb all attacks against
"We may very well come to a point where we will be forced to carry out
a large-scale operation," he said.
The chief of staff's speech came several short hours after a heavy
barrage of Qassam rockets hit Sderot. Earlier in the day the security
cabinet recommend against launching a large-scale military operation in
the Strip but called on the IDF to continue its limited counter-terrorism
Ashkenazi said that Israel must prepare for the possibility of facing
numerous enemies on several fronts - including foreign armies and terror
groups – simultaneously. "The threat to the Israeli home front is growing
and this requires us to prepare ourselves both on the defensive and
offensive levels," he stated.
"This threat began to evolve as our enemies began to understand that
they were incapable of defeating us militarily and also when they realized
our sensitivity to the loss of human life. That is how these weapons came
into use – from the Qassam to the Shiab.
The chief of staff also addressed the long-term ramifications of the
Second Lebanon War. "The IDF's deterrence has only grown stronger after
the war," said Ashkenazi.
As for Israel's concerns regarding its enemies from the east, Iran and
Syria, Ashkenazi said the IDF "must be prepared to achieve a decisive
victory in any confrontation."
In a possible war with Syria, he said, the army would not combat rocket
attacks on Israel's home front as it had during the war in Lebanon. "So
long as there are rockets falling on homes in Israel - we can not win the
war. We will not fight as the army has in the past. We will not only
operate against the rocket launchers themselves but also create a
situation where the other side's desire to launch these attacks sufferers,
the price for these attacks will be steep – and the enemy will have to
decide whether it can keep fighting.
"In a playground like Syria, we have the capability to strike them,"
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was aware that the situation in and
around Sderot was "difficult and complicated" and assured residents
that the IDF would find a solution to their plight.
Taking the podium after Ashkenazi, Barak said that Israel's "finest"
were working day and night on the Qassam problem.
"We know that this is a mission we haven't accomplished yet, and the
road ahead is still very long," said Barak. "This is a solution that
requires sound judgment and responsibility, the situation isn't simple and
I hope it will not come to a point where we are forced to do that which,
for now, we do not want to do."
The defense minister also called on Eli Moyal to reconsider his decision to resign as mayor of Sderot following a
particularly heavy rocket barrage earlier in the day.
Original article: Worthy News
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