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Outgoing IDF chief calls Gaza front the ‘most volatile’

Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot levels veiled criticism at former defense minister, says Hamas views early elections in Israel as "huge victory"

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot (second from left). Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot (second from left). Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot visited the southern Israeli city town of Sderot on Tuesday to bid an official farewell to local authority leaders from Gaza-adjacent communities.

Eizenkot leveled veiled criticism at former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his meeting with local leaders.

“Hamas views the political developments in Israel as a huge victory,” he said, referring in part to Lieberman’s surprise resignation on November 14, which eventually led to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent call for an early general election.

Additionally, the southern front was more volatile than Israel’s other fronts, Eizenkot said.

“The terror from Gaza can’t be stopped with a flick of the wrist. I hope for a prolonged cease-fire until the end of 2019 – we can complete the security barrier project by then. As of now, I don’t believe it’s possible to do anything else in Gaza. We prevented 15,000-20,000 rockets from being smuggled [into Gaza],” he said.

In his own farewell to the outgoing army chief, Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said: “Under his command and recommendation, the government made one of the most significant, game-changing decisions ever from the perspective of the Gaza-area communities – the security barrier project against infiltrations and the tunnel threat. The project is advancing at an accelerated pace and will be completed in the coming months. It has proven its importance and significance more than once in recent months already.”

Meanwhile, a suspected Palestinian terrorist was arrested on Tuesday at the Gaza border near Kibbitz Be’eri. He was unarmed and was transferred to the custody of security forces.

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