Gantz: Sooner or later, IDF must strike Gaza

IDF Chief of General Staff says he believes "Israel can't continue to live under active threat of Hamas in Gaza."

December 28, 2011 01:56
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers walk to Gaza in Operation Cast Lead

IDF soldiers walking to Gaza during Operation Cast Lead 311R. (photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)


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Israel will “sooner or later” need to launch a large-scale operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said on Tuesday, the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.

Launched on December 27, 2008, it was the most recent large-scale offensive in Gaza.

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“I believe that the State of Israel cannot continue to live under the active threat of Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” Gantz said.

“Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation. The IDF knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.”

The Israel Air Force, working with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), fired a missile at Gaza terrorists involved in recent attacks on Israel, killing one and injuring two others.

Two other Palestinians were also injured in the attack when the explosion ripped through their tuk tuk, a motorized rickshaw, according to medics in the Strip. They were taken to Amal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

Gaza violence, however, was not the only issue on Gantz’s mind.

Turning to more local matters, Gantz said that in certain circumstances and during non-official military events, the IDF would be prepared to exempt religious soldiers from participation if they are uncomfortable hearing women sing.

Gantz made the comment in an interview with Army Radio, his first since taking up the top military post in February. Army Radio hosted the annual “Sherutrom” broadcast, a day-long fundraiser for the IDF.

Gantz’s clarification came after a number of incidents when observant soldiers refused to participate in events featuring vocal performances by women. Attendance, he said, would however be mandatory at all formal military ceremonies.

“There’s room in the IDF for women to contribute in whatever way they can and there is no prohibition on women singing,” he said. “Israel and the IDF need to clarify that the commander is the authority in the military and whenever it is a formal event soldiers will be obligated to attend.”

Gantz also addressed an incident during which he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were recorded by journalists cracking a joke about women serving in the IDF, saying that he believes people understand the difference between joking and speaking about serious matters.

Gantz said that the number of women commanders serving in the IDF demonstrated how different reality is from the situation described in the joke. As an example, he mentioned the recent promotion of Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai as head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate.

Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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