Gantz: I'd rather be Israeli than Lebanese

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March 11, 2013 20:56
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The ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah is holding steady seven years after the Second Lebanon War ended, but should hostilities resume, it would be better to be an Israeli citizen than a Lebanese citizen, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz told the Herzliya Conference on Monday evening.

During a speech that opened the annual gathering, Gantz said Israeli deterrence against Hezbollah remained "authentic." He noted that Hezbollah was involved "up to its neck" in the Syrian civil war, sending thousands of fighters to support the Assad regime.

He warned that the northern arenas "could explode at any moment," adding, "I hope this quiet is maintained... but if not, we are prepared, and we will know to act with the required force... directly against Hezbollah and its state surroundings. Lebanon [as] the neighboring state can't be sovereign but not responsible. If this goes off, I'd rather be an Israeli civilian, and not a Lebanese civilian."

Turning his gaze to Syria, Gantz said that arena had become "very unstable and dangerous." Although the IDF no longer faces six Syrian army divisions threatening to invade the Golan Heights, terror organizations are growing in Syria. "They're fighting Assad. But guess what. It's us afterwards. We could be the next challenge for the same organizations," Gantz warned.

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