Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz deflected criticism addressed at the IDF and the government for its handling of the terror tunnel threat during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza Saturday, noting that the political leadership did know about the threat before the war started.
However, "I do not want to address what the Cabinet ministers said," Gantz added in the Channel 2 interview, referring to the hullaballoo before and during the war over the Hamas terror tunnels and the appropriate course of action to combat them.
Overall, from a military perspective, Gantz emphasized that "Operation Protective Edge is a story of success."
"In the face the goals we set for ourselves, in the face of possible alternatives to the operation . . . it was important that our enemies could not beat us," he said. "Did anyone expect that they would not escalate the conflict in return?"
Regarding the future, Gantz said that "in order to bring order to the Middle East, we need more than a[nother] IDF Chief of Staff, but also to ensure that we are sufficiently prepared – and with due modesty, I must say that I think the army is ready."
That said, he predicted "without a doubt" that the preparations are necessary for an inevitable conflict along Israel's northern borders. Gantz's comment refers to multiple clashes in January between Israel, Hezbollah terrorists from Lebanon, and Syrian rebels.
Gantz concluded by confirming that the IDF is closely monitoring the ambiguous status of Hamas leader Mohammed Deif, and that he prefers to keep the issue under wraps.
The outgoing IDF Chief of Staff steps down Monday, and will be replaced by Major General Gadi Eizenkot.