Ashkenazi: In a future war we'll need to evacuate civilians

IDF Chief of General Staff says IDF is already working on target banks for future conflicts with Hamas, Hizbullah.

November 9, 2010 11:29
2 minute read.
Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi

Ashkenazi at Migdal Haemek school 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Israel will have to evacuate civilian populations during a future conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip or Hizbullah in Lebanon, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said on Tuesday.

“In the future, we will not meet the enemy on the traditional battlefield,” Ashkenazi said. “Hamas chooses to fight within an urban setting. It could have alternatively chosen to fight in the open areas.”

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Speaking at the International Conference on Fire and Combined Arms in an Urban Terrain in Zichron Ya’acov, Ashkenazi said that in a future conflict the IDF will use ground forces and standoff firepower in conjunction with one another.

“It would be elegant if we could stop rocket and missile fire with just standoff firepower,” he said.

“But it is not possible and we will need to combine our capabilities and also to maneuver on the ground.”

As a result, Ashkenazi said that the IDF was already working now on creating target banks for future conflicts with Hizbullah and Hamas, so that the forces will not enter a conflict and need to begin to look for the enemy, which hides among civilians.

“During the Yom Kippur War all we had to do was pick up a pair of binoculars and look for the divisions,” he said. “Nowadays, there are no divisions, and therefore we will need to make an effort to turn the enemy from asymmetric to symmetric.”

Former deputy chief of staff Maj.- Gen. (res.) Dan Harel spoke about Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip two years ago and warned that if Israel prepares for the next round with the same plan it used then, it will be extremely costly.

“It will not be the same next time,” he said. “We will need to bring something else.”

As was reported recently in The Jerusalem Post, Ashkenazi said Tuesday that the IDF was looking into procuring new accurate rockets to increase the ground forces’ capability to independently destroy targets with precision and without needing to rely on air support.

“In a future conflict we will need new weapons systems that are large enough to destroy targets but are small enough to minimize collateral damage,” he said.

The IDF’s Planning Division is currently conducting a review of a procurement plan for new rockets, which needs to be approved by the General Staff. If it get the okay, it will be inserted into the IDF’s next multiyear plan, set to go into effect in 2011.

One system under consideration is Accular, developed by Israel Military Industries, a 160 mm.

autonomous surface-to-surface missile guided by a GPS system that puts it within 10 meters of a target. The rocket, designed to destroy artillery batteries and infantry command posts, was successfully tested several months ago in the South.

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