Gantz: Israel super-ready to attack Iran if needed

IDF Chief of Staff slams chatter on Iranian nuclear threat by former defense establishment officials.

June 5, 2012 19:58
2 minute read.
IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz [file]

IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz 390 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)


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Israeli preparedness to attack Iran is a major deterrent, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

Gantz listed reasons Tehran may give up on nuclear weapons, such as “the vectors of international diplomatic isolation, economic pressure and sanctions, disturbances to the [nuclear] project that I won’t get into and a credible military threat.”

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He added that “in order to be a credible military threat, we must be super-ready – and as far as I’m concerned, we’re super-ready.”

The IDF chief explained that Iran had yet to determine whether to use its nuclear capabilities for weapons, and only Tehran could make that final decision. The IDF is prepared for either scenario, he said.

“There is a lot of chatter and public debate on this matter,” he pointed out. “The Iranian issue – capabilities or lack thereof, how things are developing and where it’s going – is very dynamic, and very few people know what is possible or impossible.”

Gantz said many people claimed to know what was happening, but they did not, and the public debate and professional debate were far from each other.

“Some people used to know, and they don’t today,” he stated, in reference to former defense establishment officials like former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, who have said an attack on Iran would not be effective.

Gantz also said the IDF was concerned about arms smuggling between Hezbollah and Syria, noting that there was more movement than ever before and that Iran and Hezbollah were very involved in Syria.

Instability on the Golan Heights has increased as a result of the situation in Syria, as have the security issues near the border, although there has not yet been any terrorist activity, he said.

The chief of staff called Syria a “lose-lose situation,” because if Syrian President Bashar Assad were to fall, radical elements would take over. If he remains in power, he will be weak, Gantz continued, and there will be instability.

“Good things won’t happen in Syria,” the IDF chief said, explaining that there was likely to be an increase in arms smuggling in either case.

He also called for the IDF to compile a multi-year plan with an increased budget, saying that at present the military was “floating like a raft, not sailing like a boat.”

“The framework of the budget does not allow a reasonable continuation of a multi-year plan in the complex strategic reality and negative trends,” he stated. “We must ensure our ability to attack from the air and ground at the same time. I must ensure that the active units are not hollow and can fulfill any mission.”

Gantz added that he had total faith in the air force and intelligence, but that he must make sure to preserve their power.

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