"Today our soldiers are better trained and more experienced; they are ready for the moment of truth, and a future conflict with Hizbullah will look differently," the outgoing commander of the 7th Armored Brigade said.
In an interview with Ynet, Colonel Royi Elcabets (40) said that despite the looming threats from the terror organizations, "we have not been neglecting our training for the possibility of a confrontation with a standard army, such as Syria's, and are investing in tank-against-tank exercises to improve our capabilities."
According to Elcabets, during the IDF's recent offensive in Gaza, the three armored brigades that operated in densely-populated areas "made every effort to avoid civilian casualties.
"We saw gunmen hiding behind children and older women who waved white flags- and we didn't open fire," the colonel recounted.
"It is somewhat frustrating when you're criticized even after going to such great lengths to uphold values. Why isn't Hamas criticized for using civilian facilities to carry out terror activities? But we all know the truth – how hard we try not to harm civilians and how sorry we are when it happens," he told Ynet.
Elcabets, who will take up his new post as the Southern Command's Chief Operations Officer in a few weeks, is convinced that in the next conflict Hamas will also fire rockets into Israel while trying to lure the IDF deep into Gazan territory by operating out of population hubs.
"Despite the threat from Hamas in the south and Hizbullah in the north, we are not ruling out the possibility of a 'classic' war," he said. "Such scenarios require sophisticated preparation, and we are giving this much thought."
The 7th Brigade's battalions have been deployed along the border with Lebanon, in the West Bank and along the security fence separating Israel from Gaza. "We are implementing our sovereignty in every corner and will do everything we can to prevent any surprises," Elcabets said.