Halutz: 'The world can stop Iran'

Chief of Staff adds he is opposed to the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip.

halutz looks tough 298.8 (photo credit: IDF [file])
halutz looks tough 298.8
(photo credit: IDF [file])
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said Tuesday that the world has the military might to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Halutz added he is opposed to the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip in an effort to stop Kassam rocket attacks. "I am not pushing for the occupation of Gaza," he said, "I am pushing in the opposite direction. ... I can't recall that in all the years of fighting when we were there that we succeeded in reducing the firing of Kassams to zero." The price Israel would pay for re-entering the Gaza Strip would be much greater than any success in stopping the Kassams, Halutz said. Regarding Iran, Halutz said that if it does obtain nuclear capability, it will constitute a threat to Israel's existence. When asked if the world can, militarily, stop Iran's nuclear program, answered, "Yes, yes. Regarding whether or not the world can, the answer is yes." Questioned on whether Israel would be involved in such a military operation against its top enemy, Halutz said, "We are part of the world." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly spoken out against Israel and threatened to wipe it "off the map." While Israeli government and military officials had been very vocal in calling for action against Iran, they have toned down their comments in recent weeks, wishing to take a low profile as the world proceeds in its efforts to stop the Iranian program. If Iran does one day possess a nuclear weapon, this would constitute a threat to Israel's existence, Halutz told Israel radio. The International Atomic Energy Agency report has found that Iran is acting in violation of the UN Security Council's demand that it stop enriching uranium. Referring to the Palestinian conflict, Halutz said that the decrease in Kasam attacks from Gaza was a result of continued IDF pressure. When asked about Labor Chairman Amir Peretz becoming defense minister, Halutz commented, "We are all civilians, some of us wear uniforms. I don't see this as a constraint." The army chief added that everyone would do his or her part to ensure that the [defense] system keeps running in the best possible manner.