Gantz: IDF wants to 'cool down' the Syrian border

By
May 28, 2013 18:53

Liberman expresses certainty that Assad used chemical weapons; IDF chief of staff says Golan "increasingly unstable."

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IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokesman's Office)

Israel is concerned about weapons being transferred from Syria to Hezbollah, but does not want to heat up the northern front, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting Tuesday.

"Our inclination is to cool the atmosphere, even though we passed messages [to stop the weapons transfers]," he explained. "We don't want combat with Syria, and if we recognize continuous or dangerous shooting, we act to remove the danger."

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The Golan is becoming increasingly unstable, with a rise in the number of terrorism attempts, Gantz added.

"The IDF is developing capabilities and operating concepts for defense, and when it is necessary, we responded by firing," he stated.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman expressed certainty that Syrian President Bashar Assad uses chemical weapons.

"We've seen the radical axis cross all read lines. Not only is the Assad regime massacring its own people, there is no question as to whether chemical weapons are being used against Syrian civilians," Liberman said.

A representative of IDF intelligence said that Assad uses long-range missiles along with chemical weapons as a tactical move.

However, the intelligence representative added, Assad has full control of the chemical weapons and their use.

Gantz explained that Assad's regime continues to be challenged, and his ability to govern rises and falls over time and varies by region. Thus, there is no real progress by Assad or the rebels.

Liberman also mentioned the Iranian threat at the meeting's start, saying that the Tehran is "running toward an atomic bomb at a crazy pace," requiring Israel to make decisions and be determined.

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