Wednesday, November 16, 2011

IDF chief says 'major Gaza offensive' needed


Gantz tells Knesset's Defense Committee recent escalation in south calls for operation in Strip  

IDF Chief Benny Gantz: Trigger Fingers Need an Excuse
"The recent escalation and loss of life – as well as the disruption of the southern residents' daily routine – will eventually make it necessary for the army to launch a major offensive in Gaza," IDF Chief Benny Gantz told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.

Gantz said that an attack on a terror cell which was recently targeted by Israeli aircraft in Rafah "managed to delay the development of Islamic Jihad's rocket-firing system."

Addressing the Palestinians' "frustration" over the stalled bid to win full membership of the United Nations, Gantz said "the prospect of a violent flare-up still exists."

As for the plan to cut the Defense Ministry's budget, Gantz said Israel cannot allow any budget decrease to affect the army's level of preparedness.

In the next conflict, he said, the army "will have to shorten the duration of the fighting as much as possible. This swiftness must be based on quality intelligence and on operating at a fast pace."

The chief of staff also mentioned the August terror attack on the road to Eilat, in which eight Israelis were killed, saying the IDF's activity along the western border between Israel and Egypt has shifted from preventing infiltrations to focusing on being prepared for terror attacks.

"Sinai has become an area in which the many infrastructures allow for hostile terrorist activity – both from Gaza and global Jihad – while undermining Egyptian sovereignty," he said.

Gantz said he has instructed the 30 contractors working on the security fence along the Israeli-Egyptian border to pick up the pace and complete the job by the end of 2012.

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