IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi spoke to high school students in Beersheba on Friday and addressed such issues as the Goldstone Report, Hamas' rocket launching capabilities and the Iranian threat.
Referring to Operation Cast Lead the chief of staff said, "We continue to probe. We have found mistakes and malfunctions because these things happen in the heat of combat."
In regards to the United Nations report accusing Israel of committing war crimes during the Gaza war, Ashkenazi said, "The report requires a response, an explanation of the justness of the war, and that the next one will be conducted similarly." He further stated that "terror should not be rewarded" and noted that the IDF is probing all of the incidents, regardless of any reports.
The IDF chief of staff also admitted that the army has "hurt people" and explained that it was no coincidence that Hamas chose to operate from residential areas. "We are also looking into Palestinian complaints, which no other army does, and sometimes we are not proud of the results."
Addressing the growing fear following the uncovering of a successful Hamas trial launch of a 60 km range rocket, Ashkenazi said, "Hamas is being restrained and is restraining others, but we do not kid ourselves. If necessary we will operate in Gaza again to stop the firings."
Ashkenazi also addressed the Iranian nuclear threat and noted that the army has been preparing for any possible scenario.
"No doubt it is important to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Diplomatic efforts must be advanced, but on our part we should be ready for any possibility."