Hamas paid a heavy price during Israel’s eight-day operation this month to stem
rocket fire, and Israeli deterrence is stronger today than it was before the
confrontation, OC Southern Command Maj.- Gen. Tal Russo said
Speaking from Beersheba six days after Operation Pillar of
Defense came to an end, Russo warned, “We will know how to keep our side of the
arrangement. If they violate it, we have responses.”
Russo said he was
surprised by the “total quiet” which came into effect within an hour of the
truce and which lasted six days afterwards, saying this was the first time such
a development occurred after an escalation.
He noted, however, an
increase in violent disorder along the Gaza border.
“There’s a good
reason for Hamas to stop its rocket attacks,” Russo said. “We can measure
results only after a reasonable period of time passes. Hamas has been badly
Deterrence is in place, despite the victory cries we heard in
Israel and Hamas both know Hamas has been hit hard,” the military
Addressing attempts by Gazan terror factions to rearm
themselves with rockets, Russo said the goal of fully stopping rearmament had
never been set. Rather, “We can improve on our previous situation [by slowing
down rearmament efforts].”
Russo reiterated the reasons that led Israel
to embark on the operation, citing weekly barrages of rockets on southern towns
that made normal life impossible, and increasing terrorist attacks on IDF border
patrol missions along the Gaza fence.
“Hamas’s long-range rocket fire has
been all but destroyed, despite occasional launches at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Its underground rockets with a range of 20-40 rockets have been hit hard, and
Hamas’s drone capabilities were destroyed,” Russo said, listing the damages
incurred by Hamas.
“Dozens of terrorists are dead,” he added. “We had
many tools, but we didn’t want to activate them all,” Russo said, discussing the
land maneuver that was never launched.
He praised the cross-arms
cooperation on display during the operation between the various branches of the
IDF. Russo also praised the rapid deployment of reserve forces, calling their
The southern commander downplayed complaints by
reserves about conditions at staging area, saying, “I didn’t hear such strong
There are always things to improve upon. We will study this,
like we study all things, and seek improvements.”