IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz summarized the so called Operation Protective Edge on Friday, in his first official interview since the 50-day operation ended in a ceasefire with the Palestinian Hamas organization on August 26, according to Israeli reports
Speaking to Yedioth Aharonoth, Gantz appraised that the operation “contributed to the national security of the state of Israel and will bring quiet to residents of the south for a continued period.” The report said
That appraisal comes despite the fact that most residents of the Gaza Belt reportedly have left the area for the Jewish High Holidays, with many of them apparently unwilling to return especially amid reports that Hamas has renewed construction of the tunnels that lead into Israel.
Gantz was quoted as saying:
“We axed all Hamas’s meaningful strategic strength, we destroyed all of their attack tunnels they intended to use, most of their rocket production industry, and prevented their achievements of breaching from the sea and air with drones.”
Israeli polls shortly after the ceasefire revealed criticism towards the government for not defeating Hamas completely – according to Gantz, the ceasefire decision was fully the government’s and not his.
“I’m at peace with the strategic end the Cabinet outlined, and if they wanted an end for different wars, like occupying Gaza, that would have been possible to do. But that’s not what the state decided,” Gantz was quoted as saying.
Gantz reportedly pointed out that Gaza is not the only front troubling Israel, and that Israel’s other enemies – such as the “Lebanese-based Iran-proxy terror group Hezbollah” – would do well to learn from the capabilities demonstrated by the IDF in the recent campaign.
“(Hezbollah chief Hassan) Nasrallah sees that the Israeli society didn’t break apart and was ready to pay the price (in Gaza), and that we know to do in Lebanon what we did in Gaza,” Gantz warned .
He pointed out that Israel remains the number one enemy of the Arabs .
“Our enemies are currently busy with other problems, but who is next in line for all of them? Us!” said Gantz. “If Hezbollah weren’t busy now doing what Iran tells them to do in Syria who is their fixed enemy? Us.”