Sunday, 23 May 2010

Top IDF general: It hasn't been this quiet in north since 1948

GOC Northern Command Gadi Eisenkot announced Sunday that "the Galilee hasn't known a period of quiet such as this one almost since the establishment of the State of Israel."

Speaking ahead of a massive five-day homefront defense drill dubbed "Turning Point 4" Eisenkot said that the Israel Defense Forces were going to "continue to act to maintain this quiet."

The drill was due to last five days and be carried out in all parts of the country. During the first three days the drill was to involve IDF's various command centers, the police, emergency services, ministries and other government offices.

Eisenkot made these remarks during a briefing for municipality heads along the confrontation line near Israel's northern border.

"The big fear that emanates from the newspaper headlines comes from the behavior patterns of the [Lebanese militia] Hezbollah, which are a little reminiscent of the cold war" Eisenkot went on to say. "The pattern of mutual deterrence creates immense tension. The question, when the next conflict will arise, does not depend on one thing, but rather on a number of components, not all of which are up to us."

"The only question that remains," he continued, "is what will be the event that will spark the next conflagration. In my opinion, today, neither side has any interest in further conflict."

"However," Eisenkot went on to say, "The IDF knows how to handle simultaneous fronts in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. The question is how we'll handle it as a people, as a public, as a homefront that supports its soldiers. We can deter states, and groups from taking action, but we can't deter states from getting stronger, and that is why we are prepared for all out war within hours, both on the command level and the draft level."

During the briefing, several municipality heads raised concerns that the tensions along the border with Lebanon will escalate, and asked Eisenkot to keep them up to date so that they too can prepare and issue appropriate instructions to their constituents. "I hope that the only heat this summer will be the weather, and not wars like the media keeps suggesting," the head of the Hatzor Glilit council said. "I feel that there is a growing fear among my constituency and I they need to receive a calming message that the routine is being preserved."

The head of the Upper Galilee regional council remarked that "in order to avoid tension, civilians living near the border have developed sharp instincts over the years. Therefore, the IDF needs to keep officials and civilians in the area up to date."

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