(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir on Wednesday addressed the security situation in his sector, hailing the two years since Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip as the quietest in decades, while warning that Hamas was preparing for the next round of fighting.
Zamir spoke at a Kibbutz Movement gathering to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of 11 Negev communities, which, at the time, greatly expanded the size of the area under Jewish control during the British Mandate and greatly aided the Jewish population's ability to hold on to the Negev Desert during the 1948 War of Independence.
Discussing some of the security challenges facing Southern Command, Zamir told the audience, "Over the past decade, since the eviction of the Gush Katif communities and the IDF's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, we have embarked on three operations [in Gaza] against the terrorist organizations there, chief among them Hamas.
"Relatively speaking, the two years since the end of Operation Protective Edge have been the quietest in recent decades. This period is being used to strengthen the Negev communities and to absorb new families [to the area].
“Hamas sustained a severe blow during a restrained Operation Protective Edge, but to our regret, instead of caring for the civilian population in Gaza it has used this period to renew its [military] strength and get ready for another conflict."