Gantz Warns Hezbollah: 'We Can Hit You Like Gaza'

IDF Chief of Staff sums up Gaza operation, warns Israel is 'next in line' for enemies in Lebanon, Sinai, Syria and Iran.

Ari Yashar ,

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz
Flash 90

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz summarized Operation Protective Edge on Friday, in his first official interview since the 50-day operation ended in a ceasefire with the Hamas terrorist organization on August 26.

Speaking to Yedioth Aharonoth, Gantz appraised that the operation "contributed to the national security of the state of Israel and will bring quiet to residents of the south for a continued period."

That appraisal comes despite the fact that most residents of the Gaza Belt reportedly have left the area for the Jewish High Holidays, with many of them apparently unwilling to return especially amid reports that Hamas has renewed construction on terror tunnels into Israel.

But according to Gantz, "we axed all Hamas's meaningful strategic strength, we destroyed all of their attack tunnels they intended to use, most of their rocket production industry, and prevented their achievements of breaching from the sea and air with drones."

Israeli polls shortly after the ceasefire revealed criticism towards the government for not breaking Hamas completely in this the third such operation in Gaza - according to Gantz, that decision was fully the government's and not his.

"I'm at peace with the strategic end the Cabinet outlined, and if they wanted an end for different wars, like occupying Gaza, that would have been possible to do. But that's not what the state decided," said Gantz.

The chief of staff reminded that Gaza is not the only front troubling Israel, and that Israel's other enemies - such as the Lebanese-based Iran-proxy terror group Hezbollah - would do well to learn from the capabilities demonstrated by the IDF in the recent campaign.

"(Hezbollah leader Hassan) Nasrallah sees that the Israeli society didn't break apart and was ready to pay the price (in Gaza), and that we know to do in Lebanon what we did in Gaza," warned the IDF head.

While the Arab world has been engaged in bloody infighting, from Iraq and Syria to Sinai and many other places as well, the common enemy remains Israel, reminds Gantz.

"Our enemies are currently busy with other problems, but who is next in line for all of them? Us!" stated Gantz. "If Hezbollah weren't busy now doing what Iran tells them to do in Syria who is their fixed enemy? Us."

"If terrorist forces in the Golan stop dealing with (Syrian President Bashar) Assad, who's their enemy? If the thousands of refugees in Jordan need to act, who will they do that against? Will the jihadists in the Sinai only act against Egypt?" asked Gantz rhetorically.

Another farther enemy came up as well, namely Iran, which has been quietly advancing its nuclear program even amid nuclear talks with world powers.

On this front as well, Gantz said "we are ready to act in Iran, and we should remain realistic about this threat which still exists."