Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz
said Wednesday that the ballistic defense system must be Israel's last line of defense." Speaking at NATO's Middle East dialogue forum in Brussels, Gantz said, "the initiative should come earlier" by exhausting all other means for the prevention of the proliferation of mass destruction weapons.
The IDF chief noted that NATO's decision to build an anti-missile system reflects the global nature of the unconventional weapons threat. "We must prepare for the worst," Gantz said, noting that many advanced weapons have already been smuggled via international borders and ended up with terror organizations.
The IDF chief further added that the current situation serves as fertile grounds for extremists to spread messages of hate and to compromise peace.
Gantz with his Canadian counterpart (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Referring to the Arab Spring Gantz expressed his hope that changes in the region will lead to a more stable Middle East and that Israel's agreements with its neighbors will continue to be honored.
Describing the complex nature of the Mideast conflict Gantz noted that weapons and missiles are being stored in private homes, schools and holy sites posing danger to civilian life. He added that terrorists intentionally attack innocent civilians in order to create social rifts and plant fear.
An effective international strategy must work to bolster moderates and weaken extremists, Gantz claimed. He praised the ongoing cooperation between Israel and NATO and the dialogue within the forum.