During a tour of the Southern Command on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz discussed Operation Pillar of Defense and the ceasefire.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz toured the Southern Command today (Thursday, November 22), following the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense and the implementation of a ceasefire last night.
The Chief of Staff expressed appreciation for the Israeli public's steadfastness during the operation, saying, "I really appreciate the resiliency of the public. I think that it gave the political leadership the ability to carry out its responsibilities. It gave us, the military leadership, the ability to operate with discretion."
He also discussed the IDF's achievements during Operation Pillar of Defense. "This operation accomplished its purposes and goals as set by the political leadership," he said. "We hit Hamas hard through the targeting of [senior Hamas terrorist Ahmed] Jabri himself and a number of other senior officials. We inflicted much damage on all of the [rocket] launching capabilities."
Additionally, Lt. Gen. Gantz explained the importance of the IDF's mobilization of reserve forces during the operation. "The mobilization of the enlistment system enabled us to be strong in the different arenas and to prepare the next stage," he said. "One cannot carry out an action when the subsequent action is not prepared. The IDF can perform any mission that the political leadership sets for it."
The Chief of Staff clarified that despite the ceasefire, the IDF will continue to track attempts to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip from Iran or Libya, and will operate so as to thwart such attempts.
NEWS REPORTS OF NOTE
New York Times: For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation - David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker
There was a second, strategic agenda unfolding in the conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, according to American and Israeli officials. The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new anti-missile systems to counter them.
It is Iran, of course, that most preoccupies Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama. While disagreeing on tactics, both have made it clear that time is short, probably measured in months, to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
One key to their war-gaming has been cutting off Iran's ability to slip next-generation missiles into Gaza or Lebanon, where they could be launched by Iran's surrogates, Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, during any crisis.
Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a military historian, noted Wednesday: "In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union." In the Gaza operation, "Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran." (New York Times)
> Read the full story
Bloomberg: Closing Arms Tunnels Crucial to Ending Israel-Hamas War - Nicole Gaouette
The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is unlikely to end their conflict unless smuggling routes the militant group uses to re-arm itself are closed. So long as militants can restock their arsenals with goods from Sudan, Libya and Iran smuggled through Gaza's tunnels, any Israeli success against Hamas will be short-term, said Adam Hug, policy director at the Foreign Policy Centre in London.
Egypt's new government is "too stressed out on other issues" to deal effectively with the tunnels, said Paul Sullivan, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington. "The fact that the Egyptian military could not stop the murder of their own in North Sinai in July says a lot."
> Read the full story
Times of Israel: Hamas "Victory" Sparks Fighting Spirit in the West Bank - Elhanan Miller
The IDF reported a steep rise in violent activities in the West Bank during the week of fighting in Gaza. Rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at civilian cars and a bus was shot at from a passing car near Gush Etzion junction, south of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem's Old City, a young woman stabbed a soldier on Thursday.
The Palestinian street is quickly slipping into combat mode, inspired by the fighting words emanating from Gaza. Yet as demonstrators flocked to the main squares of Ramallah and Hebron to celebrate Hamas' victory Thursday, Fatah official Bassam Zakarneh wrote on his Facebook page: "My brothers, if the death of 163 martyrs including the leader Ahmad Jabari, with thousands of wounded and all [government] institutions destroyed is considered a victory, then by God what is defeat?" (Times of Israel)
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Huff Post: Israel did everything it could to avoid civilian casualties
Col. Richard Kemp CBE, is a former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and one of the most highly decorated and respected officers in the British Army. He has spent 30 years of his career fighting terrorism in the UK and around the world.
That makes him more qualified than most to comment on the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which entered into a fragile cease-fire overnight.
> Read the full story
Wall Street Journal Editorial: Hamas’s Gaza Victory
Regarding America's war in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger once noted that "the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win." Regarding Israel's latest war against Hamas in Gaza, the same considerations apply.
The leaders of Hamas understand that they have emerged politically intact and strategically stronger after eight days of inconclusive fighting. The terrorist group fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel - forcing millions of Israelis into bunkers and bomb shelters - but suffered no decisive military defeat.
The Egyptian government has been accorded a special role in maintaining the cease-fire, but that will mean little unless it halts the flood of arms coming from Iran into Gaza from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Israel received a similar guarantee after its last cease-fire with Hamas in 2009, but the rockets multiplied and with longer ranges.
Israel lives in a bad neighborhood that has become more dangerous since the Arab Spring. Israel has at least degraded Hamas' ability to attack if there is a war with Iran next year
B'nai B'rith Statement
B’nai B’rith International stands in solidarity with Israel and supports the country’s right to defend itself.
> Read the full release
Israel Emergency Fund Opened
B’nai B’rith International has launched an Israel Emergency Fund in response to events in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Its goal is to raise funds to assist Israeli residents who are dealing with a barrage of rocket attacks from Hamas. Funds could also be used to help with the personal needs of Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
> Make a donation today.
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