Netanyahu. 'Now not the time for military offensive'
Photo: Mark Yisrael Salem
Yehiel Lasri
Photo: Shaul Golan

'Israel's response to rocket fire too soft'

IDF officers avoid criticizing government but claim Israel may pay the price for the way it chose to respond to the firing of rockets from Gaza. Hamas has emerged stronger from the recent conflict, some officers say

IDF officers admitted Sunday that Israel had lost several important points opposite Hamas and terror groups for its way of responding to recent rocket fire. "One needs to carefully analyze what happened here and hope we won’t pay for the chosen course of action in the future," one officer told Ynet.


While the IDF has yet to fully analyze recent events on the southern border, voices within the army can be heard addressing Israel's "soft" response to the firing of rockets at three major Israeli cities.


Some officers believe Hamas has emerged stronger from the conflict.


"After Operation Cast Lead a very clear equation was created whereby the IDF responds disproportionately to any violation of the state of calm. This was the way and the message was conveyed to the other side," one officer said.


"Ever so often there were attempts to test us but a harsh response together with deterrence achieved by the operation had sent the message until the next time."


The officers are careful not to point any fingers at higher ranks or the government but claim that the terror organizations had succeeded in setting a new standard for attacks without being subjected to retaliation.


"Israel and the IDF are constantly being tested for their reaction and this determines the next round. Granted there are other considerations and that is why one needs to review Israel's choice of action given more time," one officer said.

Iron Dome battery in Beersheba (Photo: Herzl Yosef)


Meanwhile, Israel's aerial defense layout continues the "operational testing" phase of the Iron Dome system and is set to deploy two batteries in different areas in the south over the next few days. They will be placed in locations chosen in advance and set aside for the launchers.


Security sources said that the current deployment of the first battery – near Beersheba – has more of a symbolic significance than an operational one. Firstly, according to military sources, the battery will "hop" between various locations in the coming days and secondly – as long as the operational testing phase remains incomplete its effectiveness is lessened.


Later on this week, if significant progress is achieved and rocket fire persists, dramatic decisions with regards to the positioning of the two batteries might be made.


"In any case the ability to transport them from place to place within hours will help in taking full advantage of the their benefits in real time," a security source said.


'Netanyahu promised more fortification'

Southern Council heads were optimistic Sunday after concluding a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he had promised to provide funding for the fortification of educational establishments which are currently unfortified.

Netanyahu meets council heads (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)


The council heads said Netanyahu had told them he will hold a discussion on the matter and added it was suggested Israel will not open a military attack on the Gaza Strip in the near future. "We shall act to stop the rocket fire, but the appropriate time needs to be found," Netanyahu told the council heads.


The Prime Minister's Bureau claimed Netanyahu had not promised extra funding for fortification but asked he be presented with all the available fortification options.


The meeting was also attended by Minister Matan Vilanai and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar. "Now is not the ideal time for a military offensive but we shall definitely maintain our deterrence," Netanyahu told the council heads.


Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri said after the meeting: "I think it was an excellent meeting, and we managed to raise issues that have not been raised for years. The main issue we discussed was the fortification of educational establishments."


Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 03.28.11, 00:30
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