IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz 390 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz told a group of youths being drafted into the Kfir Brigade that the IDF is still monitoring the situation in Gaza as a cease-fire came into effect early Tuesday morning.
Speaking at the IDF's induction base at Tel Hashomer, Gantz said the IDF is closely following developments in the South and needs to see how things develop to determine if there truly is a cease fire.
"It's not over until it's over," the chief of General Staff continued. "Quiet will be answered with quiet; fire will be answered with fire."
Noting that civilians were among the 26 people killed in fighting over the weekend, Gantz blamed the deaths on the fact that terror organizations operate in civilian areas.
Of the 26 killed, "unfortunately, four of them were not terrorists ... That is the result when [our] enemies operate in civilian areas," he explained.
In the past three days, the IDF used only one-thousandth of its strength, Gantz said, but saying it knows how to use its strength when it is required to.
Earlier Tuesday, Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau head Amos Gilad expressed a similar understanding of the unofficial agreement with Gaza-based terror groups. The principle of the cease-fire comes down to three words: quiet brings quiet.
Speaking with Army Radio Tuesday morning, hours after the Egyptian-brokered deal came into effect, Gilad denied that Israel committed to refrain from assassinating heads of terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.
"There is no written agreement," Gilad said, "Israel has no documents, no negotiations, no contacts with the terrorist organizations."
The only understanding that exists, he reiterated, is quiet.
If Israeli intelligence knows of a terrorist attack being planned, "there will be action to prevent it."
Gilad said that the assassination of Popular Resistance Committees head Zuhair Qaisi in the Gaza Strip last week prevented - in the short term - a repeat of the terror attack near Eilat last summer that killed nine Israelis. Qaisi's killing triggered the latest round of violence in Gaza.
Due to Qaisi's killing, he explained, "this attack will not move forward in the near future."