With reports and growing speculation of an Israeli military strike against Iran, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz spoke with הלוחם, a magazine published by IDF vets. He said that if Israel is pulled into a war with Iran he feels sorroy for Israel’s neighbors, stressing “we are much more powerful then they and of this I am not even doubtful for a fraction of a second”.
He stressed that Israeli is better prepared today than ever before, and whatever decisions are made by the government will be carried out by the IDF to the best of its abilities. Ganz explains there are tens of millions of people in Iran, a nation with universities, as well as scientific, technological and economic abilities along with aspirations. A militarily nuclear Iran threatens all of this. “They simply have to arrive at the decision that this is simply not worth their while. A military nuclear program will be too costly, a price they are unwilling to pay”.
This can manifest itself in the form of isolation in the international community, economic sanctions and more he explains, and ultimately, the decision is that of Iran’s leaders. Ganz warns that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the global community, not just Israel.
When asked if Israelis should get gas mask protection kits, the commander responded “The answer is no. I think the nation must decide who gets them and how many to distribute. I advise everyone to refrain from becoming hysterical. The protection kits are not connected to the Iran issue. The homefront is prepared. There will never be an optimal situation. We are always improving”.
From Iran, the IDF commander addressed the events in Syria. “The situation in Syria is very chaotic. I think the ruling government is falling and a new rule will soon take over. It is hard to envision what the new Syria will look like. We are watching events carefully. We are preparing for any and every eventuality”.
Must we act at any price to prevent chemical weapons from reaching Hizbullah?
What does ‘at any price’ mean? It is not as simple as that. A pinpoint surgical strike is easy in the strategic planning mode but quite a bit more complicated when carried out operationally speaking. We can launch a widespread attack against all storage facilities, tomorrow morning. Realize that some of the facilities are underground. There is a big risk of losing control however. It might turn around and in the end that we caused a chemical weapons event. We are monitoring closely. I for one believe we should remain cautious in this area”.
What about the Hizbullah threat?
We are better prepared today than ever before. We have multi-tiered offensive abilities. I would not recommend to Hizbullah to test our abilities. It will hurt them in a way they simply cannot understand. If I had to choose between being an Israeli or Lebanese resident, I would quickly opt for the Israeli choice. In a next war I think Lebanon will fall decades back into the past. It is simply not worthwhile to test us”.
What about Egypt and the Islamic Brotherhood?
We have a peace treaty with this country. Most of the operations taking part in Sinai are with our approval. I would not be so quick to be maspid the peace agreement. I think the agreement is a significant strategic asset for both countries. That said, I would take a hard sober look at events taking place.
Ganz also spoke about the Iron Dome system protecting southern residents from Hamas rockets launched from Gaza. There are currently four batteries in place and more are being added. Nevertheless, this is not the definitive response and we may not view a single component as the solution to the problem. There is the defensive component as well as the offensive. One does not win a war by defensive actions. We require quality intelligence reports and comprehensive crushing offensive abilities.
What about the IDF having to once again enter Gaza?
I do not rule out this possibility. Quite the contrary, I think such an event will occur, another incursion into Gaza. Israel decided to disengage from Gaza and not to remain, but that is not to say we will not visit, as we say ‘if the need arises’.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)