Ashkenazi: Resistance on flotillas could cause casualties

IDF chief also tells FADC Iron Dome could be deployed in North; failure in negotiations could lead to violence, though he says it wouldn't reach level of violence seen in October 2000.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, JPOST.COM STAFF
September 21, 2010 16:18
1 minute read.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi speaks publicly for the first time on Wednesday.

Ashkenazi 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned on Tuesday that any resistance on board flotillas bound for Gaza could lead to more casualties.

Speaking at a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Ashkenazi said "this is a challenge for the IDF and for Israel."

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"If we see large ships bound for Gaza and force is used then we do not dismiss the possibility of casualties," he said.

The chief of staff made the comments amid reports that a Libyan aid flotilla is set to leave for Gaza in October.

Ashkenazi also discussed threats on land and hinted that the Iron Dome missile interception system could be deployed in the North instead of being used against rocket attacks from Gaza.

The chief of staff said that the first batch will be deployed in November this year, "not necessarily" in the South.


The IDF chief also warned that that violent clashes could resume between Israelis and Palestinians, if there is a failure in peace negotiations between the two sides. However, he said that he does not believe that the initial Palestinian reaction to any possible failure of talks would look at all similar to the violence of 2000.

"We must be prepared for every possibility," Ashkenazi told the committee.


"The Palestinians have relatively low expectations regarding progress, whereas in Israel, tensions exist among the Jewish population and the aspiration to end the construction freeze in settlements."

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) criticized Ashkanazi's assessment of the situation in the West Bank as unnecessarily ambivalent saying "Ashkenazi basically said either it will rain tomorrow or it will not"

"There is no doubt that the Palestinians are planning an armed conflict, and are waiting to use the failure of negotiations as an excuse," he continued.


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