GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi said Sunday in an interview with Radio Darom he does not believe that complete calm would be achieved in Gaza in the near future.
Speaking in his first interview since he had assumed his position, Halevi said, "In my opinion, we will not witness complete calm during the next decade in the Gaza Strip," in reference to the ongoing talks to reach a ceasefire agreement with the Hamas terror group.
"I think it will be wrong to deceive ourselves. (Terror-run Gaza-ed) is developing capabilities. We are stronger than it, but from time to time it will attempt (to overpower us-ed)," he opined.
Addressing the possibility of accepting Gaza and overthrowing Hamas Halevi said, "I don't see how it will improve our security situation at the moment. We know how to occupy Gaza, but I doubt it will be the right thing to do."
In addition, the major general expressed his support for building a seaport in Gaza. "I'm in favor of doing everything possible to improve the condition of Gaza's residents as long as Hamas is not empowered and that that the security of Israel's citizens remains at least as good as it is today."
"We aspire for improvement. If the seaport will use as passage for goods for Gaza's residents and not as a tool to bolster Hamas, building it would be the right thing to do. It would also lower the hostility (towards Israel)," he elucidated.
When asked how close Israel had been to launching a war during the recent rounds of fighting in Gaza, Halevi replied, "In my opinion, the recent clashes were the closest to war we have reached since Operation Protective Edge.
"The way conducted ourselves had demonstrated to Hamas our strength and abilities. We've destroyed many of its infrastructures, many of its activists were killed both during the border fence riots as well as during our strikes in Gaza," he explained.
"I think Hamas understood it wouldn't be beneficial for it to proceed (with its acts of terror-ed), and therefore it hasn't.
"The IDF is well-prepared. Our enemies on the northern border as well as on the southern one will invest tremendous efforts to avoid confronting us, since (they are aware of) the IDF's strength and the State of Israel's might," Halevi asserted.
"Nevertheless, the IDF will know to handle both fronts if needed," he concluded.
Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon IDF forces identified four Palestinians who were trying to breach the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit later said the soldiers had arrested the suspects, who were armed with a knife and an axe, and transferred them for further questioning.
Furthermore, the Palestinians released Saturday footage showing 16-year-old Ahmad Abu Tayoor being shot to death by Israeli forces during violent border clashes on Friday.
Another Palestinian teen was shot during the demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian health ministry later reported that the teen, 17, was killed by a gunshot to the chest during the riots.
Earlier on Friday, IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that IAF had attacked a Hamas observation post in northern Gaza in retaliation to "March of Return" protesters throwing grenades at soldiers near the border fence.
In addition, the IDF attacked a Hamas post in southern Gaza, responding to rioters causing severe damage to infrastructure.