IDF Chief Warns Against Too Much Chatter About Iran

Article Summary
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, warned of the dangers of rhetoric from uninformed sources about a military attack on Iran, write Arik Bender and Ahikam Moshe David. He also talked about instability in Syria and Egypt.

The Chief of Staff attended the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, and said: “In order to pose a credible military threat, the IDF must be super prepared—and as far as I am concerned, it is super-prepared”

At the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, Chief of Staff Lt. General Benny Gantz attacked the statements of former high-echelon officials in the defense system on the subject of Iranian nuclearization and said that there is too much chatter on the subject.

Gantz expressed the discomfort felt in the Israel Defense Forces in the wake of increasing discussions on the subject of Iran and a possible assault on the country. “Very few people know what is and what isn’t, what is possible and what is impossible,” said Gantz. “There are many people showing off [their knowledge] when they don’t really know, and there are those who once were in the know, but are no longer. There is a very large gap between professional discourse, which is worthy of being conducted in the proper forums, and public discourse.”

High-placed sources in the IDF elucidated on Tuesday that Gantz was not leveling veiled criticisms against former defense system officials or against the public discourse on Iran. Rather, he was criticizing those who publicly express their opinions on operative plans concerning an assault on Iran or assault on Israel, though they know nothing about such operative plans.

More weapons will be transferred                                                              

Gantz, who arrived in the Knesset directly from the Nahal Brigade military maneuvers in his fatigues, emphasized to the committee that while Iran still conspires for military nuclearization, “Tehran has not yet made the decision about crossing the nuclear weapons threshold and going all the way. This is due to Iranian strategic considerations, including: diplomatic and political international isolation, economic pressures, and disruptions to the nuclear project that I will not enlarge on. [These considerations include] a credible military threat — in order for such a threat to be credible it must be super-prepared — as far as I’m concerned, it is super-prepared. All these can bring the Iranians to say “not now,” explained Gantz.

Another interesting statement made by the Chief of Staff is related to the F-35 planes that the Israeli air force has acquired from the United States. “I have no doubt that we must possess at least two squadrons of F-35 planes, but until they arrive, the force will be challenged at least three times,” said Gantz without explaining [his cryptic words]. The Chief of Staff also addressed Syria in his survey: “Even though Syria is preoccupied with its internal shake-up, its military systems, its commando and anti-tank deployments have not been adversely affected. We are concerned about weapons transfers between Syria and Hezbollah today more than ever because when the system breaks up, more materials can change hands. We observe involvement of Iran and of the Hezbollah in Syria, we observe increasing instability near the Golan Heights as a result of what is taking place in Syria.”

Regarding the situation in Syria, Gantz added that in any event, “no good will come out of it” and explained, “If Assad falls, Syria will become unstable. If Assad remains, he will be weakened and we’ll find ourselves in the same boat of instability.”

Aside from Iran, Gantz also addressed the possibility of evacuating the Ulpana Hill neighborhood and said, “The IDF has no intentions of being on the forefront of this issue, but we will continue to carry out all the directives that we will receive.”

Regarding concerns over a spill-over of events in Syria to the Golan, Gantz made it clear that, “They have not yet reached the level of high terrorist activity, but they could. The Syrian army has 12 thousand deserters. The Syrian military system is becoming more and more challenged.”

The Chief of Staff noted that Hezbollah is occupied with orchestrating terrorist attacks throughout the world, and the organization is concerned about the possibility of the fall of Assad’s regime. The IDF is, accordingly, preparing for a possible switch from the “good fence” to “high wall” infrastructure in the border region [between Israel and Syria]. In his comments on the regional shake-ups in the Middle East, Gantz said that while the odds are low that our enemies would launch a war against us now, chances do exist that tensions can lead to war.

About the elections in Egypt, Gantz said, “These elections are being conducted between the ‘revolution-restrainers’ and the ‘revolution-stealers.’" He emphasized that peace with Egypt is important, and every effort must be made to maintain it. Regarding the fence being erected the length of the border with Egypt he said, “We will bring it to a situation that no breakthroughs occur, or occur only in limited number. But it will be a hard battle; the fence will be the object of attempted break-throughs.”  

Found in: ulpana hill, syria, knesset, israel, iran, egypt, chief of staff gantz

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using them you accept our use of cookies. Learn more... X