'Blocking Hezbollah weapons gains is IDF's top priority'

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July 5, 2017 15:42

Hezbollah’s rockets are not particularly accurate at the moment, asserts IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

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Hezbollah

Hezbollah displays a pick-up truck mounted with a multiple rocket launcher in a parade in the southern Lebanese city of Nabatiyeh in 2014. (photo credit:MAHMOUD ZAYYAT / AFP)

Eleven years after the Second Lebanon War, stopping Hezbollah from improving the accuracy of its missiles and rockets is the “top priority” of the army, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eisenkot said the IDF has used the time since the Second Lebanon War to dramatically improve its abilities, and now has better intelligence and operational capabilities than ever before.

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According to Eisenkot, relative quiet has prevailed along the northern border since the Second Lebanon War ended, and Israelis “should put things in perspective and not panic” regarding reports that Iran has helped Hezbollah to operate and manage underground weapons factories.

Nevertheless, the chief of staff said curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East is a major challenge, no less than defeating Islamic State.

Hezbollah’s rockets are not particularly accurate at the moment, he added.

According to Eisenkot, Hezbollah, by continuing to operate from civilian areas in southern Lebanon, continues to violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the terms to end the 34-day Second Lebanon War.

While UNIFIL is helping maintain calm in southern Lebanon, its leadership does not do enough when Hezbollah violates the resolution, Eisenkot said.

As for the West Bank, Eisenkot said that terrorism continues and the IDF has had great success in stopping attacks through “high operational capabilities” of soldiers and commanders.

The situation in the West Bank did not escalate into an intifada, because of good policies that gave the general Palestinian population hope, which is in Israel’s security interests, he explained.

Eisenkot also called on MKs not to publicly criticize IDF officers, because they are acting on orders from the political level.

One example he gave of such orders is the “Kalkilya Plan,” to allow construction of more Palestinian homes.

“The IDF sees this as part of its ability to fulfill our responsibility to prevent a deterioration” of the security situation, Eisenkot said.

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