Ashkenazi: Unrest could change our security reality

IDF concerned of Palestinian demonstrations reminiscent of those in Egypt and attacks against Israel from West Bank.

February 1, 2011 21:00
2 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)


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The ongoing demonstrations in Egypt could force Israel to adapt to a new security reality in the Middle East, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned Tuesday, in his first comments on the anarchy in Cairo.

“The quiet is fragile, and the security reality can easily change,” Ashkenazi said on the sidelines of a military exercise in the South. “It is enough to look at what is happening in Egypt to understand this.”

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The IDF has yet to make any changes to its force deployment throughout the country, but has allowed, as reported first in The Jerusalem Post on Monday, for Egyptian forces to deploy in the Sinai in violation of the peace treaty between the countries.

The army has, however, been keeping a “watchful” eye on the West Bank out of concern that Palestinians will launch demonstrations similar to the ones in Egypt and that terrorist groups will try to launch attacks against Israel, which is focused on Egypt.

“We are being a little more careful these days,” a senior IDF officer said.

Shaul Mofaz, head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Israel would need to conduct a new strategic review due to the possibility of a regime change in Egypt. The IDF has built itself over the past decade under the premise that it faces only one real front in the North against Hizbullah and Syria.

“We should not interfere with what is happening in Egypt, but at the same time, I believe that this is a new strategic reality that forces the State of Israel to conduct a strategic review on a national level,” Mofaz said during a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

On Monday night, Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets into Israel. One of the rockets landed next to a synagogue where a wedding was taking place in Netivot, and caused extensive damage to a van parked nearby. Another rocket landed near Ofakim, and a third in the Ashkelon region.

No group took responsibility for the firing of the Gradmodel Katyusha long-range rockets. The attack came after a lull in rocket fire from Gaza enforced by Hamas, which has reined in other terrorist organizations in Gaza.

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