Former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz warned that entire villages in Lebanon have now been turned into missile launching areas by Hezbollah to be used against Israel.
In comments made at the Towards a New Law of War Conference hosted by Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center in Jerusalem on Sunday, Gantz defended Israel’s tactics and said that the country spares no efforts to uphold its moral values and democratic principles.
“Lebanon has villages that have been turned into missile launching bases – their living rooms are missile rooms,” he said. “I don’t have a missile launching room in my house.”
Questioning international criticism faced by Israel on targeting terrorists operating in civilian areas, Gantz asked, “Realistically, how do you tell the difference? How precise can you truly be?”
“Don’t tell me it’s a kindergarten if I know it’s a missile room – don’t tell me it’s a mosque if it’s a rocket warehouse. I am not aware of one synagogue in Israel that is used to host terrorist meeting points, rocket, missiles, ammo, whatever. Instead of a swimming pool, there is a missile pool.”
Speaking on last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, the former IDF chief defended Israel’s commitment to minimize any harm to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
“In Gaza, we used the knock-on-the-roof tactic that gave warning before the building was destroyed,” he stated. “Morally, we choose to do this.”
Gantz called for changes to international rules of war, which are seemingly outdated in today’s fight against terrorists.
“Try to think back to when the rules of war were meant to impose limitation on the bad guys. Nowadays, those who break these laws don’t care. Those who are preoccupied with these laws are the ones who care. We will continue to follow them,” he stated.
“I feel very proud that I am on the right side morally, not just strategically. We should keep it this way – not because it makes our life simpler but because it is reasonable.”
While Israel seems to be able to stave off conflict with its enemies to the West and North, Gantz issued a stern warning for what will be an inevitable conflict.
“Unfortunately, in both Gaza and Lebanon people have paid the price of war. Next time, it will be worse – because Israel has to constantly grapple with the moral dilemma, but we need to protect our country.”