Eizenkot: 45% of terror attacks done by Israeli Arab citizens

Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot says in recent years nearly half the terror attacks perpetrated by Israeli ID card holders.

Yoel Domb ,

Chief of Staff Eizenkot
Chief of Staff Eizenkot
IDF spokesman

Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot appeared in the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee on Wednesday headed by Avi Dichter(Likud) and referred to current security issues facing Israel.

Dichter opened by stating that "in recent times members of the committee have been hearing - from local council heads on the Northern border and near Gaza - serious concerns about the rearmament of Hezbollah and Hamasa, including attacking deployments and not just defensive ones.

"From local council heads in Judea and Samaria we have heard concerns and criticism of the large amount of breaches in the security fence through which thousands of Palestinians pass unmolested into Israel with no entry permits, " he continued.

Dichter related that the committee would be touring the north tomorrow and meeting with local council heads near the security fence in Judea and Samaria in order to "see from close up the problems and issues they have and the solutions provided by the IDF."

Chief of Staff Eizenkot referred to the goals set by the IDF for 2016, and said that the first and foremost goal is maintaining the IDF's preparedness for war, which was reached on the level planned. He added that there had been an improvement in the level and amount of training, in intelligence capabilities and in ammunition inventories.

Eizenkot stressed that at the outset of any campaign, besides attacking targets with force, ground force deployment achieved with maximum effect and in minimal time is crucial for attaining victory and defeating the enemy.

Eizenkot said that during the first half of 2016 the wave of terror initiated in 2015 continued but in the second half the security situation improved. He stressed that the struggle against terror continues unabated and in the last year and a quarter the IDF has killed 171 terrorists. On all fronts there was widespread operational activity, most of which was hidden from public knowledge and this brought a period of calm and strengthened IDF deterrence capability.

Eizenkot repeated his opinion that the key aspect of reducing terror was the use of force correctly in a way that distinguishes between terror and the Palestinian Arab population, as well as allowing the dynamics of life, work and study to continue on the Palestinian side at all times.

He added that during the years prior to 2017 and 2017, 45% of those who performed terror attacks had Israeli ID cards.

Eizenkot said that the IDF was closely monitoring developments in Gaza. The results of the Hamas elections which led to the election of convicted murderer Yahya Sanwar to head the terror organization prove that any distinction between the political and military echelons of Hamas has dissipated.

The Chief of Staff added that regarding the Hamas tunnel threat, the IDF had spent 2.4 billion shekels to combat the threat and that concerning the Syrian front on the Golan heights, it was expected that fighting would continue to attain control of the Syrian side of the Golan.

With regard to Lebanon, Eizenkot stressed that even though Hezbollah forces are gaining considerable battle experience through their involvement in Syria, this action has led to a crisis in morale and in the financial condition of the organization. Nasrallah's present declarations were intended to establish a mutual deterrent and Eizenkot did not foresee initiated attacks on Israel on this front or on the Gazan front.

Eizenkot also referred to the Elor Azariya indictment and stated that the external intervention was damaging and was accompanied by numerous inaccuracies which the public adopted and which had no connection to the factual truth. He stressed that he sees a difference between a soldier erring, which the officer must use as a lesson for others and a soldier demonstrating negligence or moral turpitude, which cannot be tolerated. As for possible repercussions on other incidents, Eizenkot said that since the Hevron incident in March 2016 there had been 200 other incidents and in none of them did the forces involved hesitate to shoot.