Israeli ex-general sharply criticizes official “defensive” policy as recipe for war

Former OC Central Command and ex-defense ministry Dir.-Gen Ret. Gen. Shraga Biran said Friday, April 11, that Israel’s security problems will not be solved through defensive operations. In an unusually outspoken diatribe against current government policy by an apolitical military strategist, Biran warned that this defensive posture would lead inexorably to war, while strengthening Israel’s antagonists, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas.
He faulted the West as a whole for closing its eyes to Iran’s rising strength and nuclear aspirations.
debkafile‘s military sources hold up Israel’s military action in Gaza Friday to illustrate the point made by Gen. Biran.
Following the murder on April 9 of two Israeli civilians at the fuel terminal supplying Gaza, Israel’s Givati Brigades, tank and engineering units, supported by combat helicopters advanced to between one and 1.5 km deep into the Gaza Strip and stopped short outside the El Bureij camp. All day, they engaged fire with armed Palestinians who used rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine gun and mortars. The troops kept on dodging the fire without advancing.
Israeli helicopters hit Palestinian firing positions, killing seven gunmen and a child. In the afternoon the IDF spokesman accused the Palestinians of fighting from inside populated areas.
Two things happened in this engagement, according to debkafile‘s military analysts:
1. Palestinian forces had another chance to hone their combat skills by watching Israeli tank movements and learning how to defend themselves, before going on the offensive.
2. The Palestinian population practiced ways of supporting their gunmen.
It is a well-known convention that Hamas draws its forward front lines in and around Gaza’s urban centers, such as Gaza City and Al Bureij and uses the population as human shields.
The operation was mounted to exact a penalty from the Palestinian terrorists two days after their unprovoked incursion into the fuel facility and two murders. Instead of showing their deterrent mettle, Israeli combat forces had to make do with fighting from a distance and presenting Hamas with a demonstration of ineffectiveness. The presence of an Israeli force outside al Bureij did not deter the Palestinians from continuing to shell Nahal Oz, launching a missile at Erez and shooting at ID border patrols. Snipers again aimed at an Israel farm tractor working in the fields of Nir Oz, two days after the IDF embarked on an earlier operation to put a stop to the harassment of Israeli farmers from Gaza.
All in all, because of the excessive caution of chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi and his superiors, Israel has not only failed to halt missile attacks from Gaza but even mortar shelling and light automatic rifle by lone snipers.

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