Israel general drops defense bombshell
TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 14 (UPI) — Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, commander of Israel’s northern front, has dropped a bombshell by disclosing that the anti-missile systems the defense industry has developed are intended to protect the country’s military installations, not its cities and civilian population.
“The residents of Israel shouldn’t be under the illusion that someone will open an umbrella over the heads” in the event of a massive missile and rocket attack by Israel’s enemies, he declared in a speech Sunday at the University of Haifa.
“The systems are designed to protect military bases, even if this means that citizens suffer discomfort during the days of battle.”
Eisenkot’s uncompromising statement did nothing to ease a spate of dire warnings by political and military chiefs in recent weeks that Israel’s cities, particularly Tel Aviv and its densely populated environs, will be major targets in any new conflict.
In November, the outgoing head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, painted a stark and unvarnished picture of what the Israeli population can expect in the country’s next war.
“Tel Aviv will be a front line in the next conflict,” he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet in his final briefing after five years as the military’s intelligence director.
A few days earlier he gave an equally bleak forecast to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, noting that “future wars … will be much bigger, much wider and with many more casualties” than Israel’s conflicts in Lebanon in 2006 and the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008-09.
The key factor here is that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza are expected to bombard Israel relentlessly with an unprecedented firestorm of missiles and rockets if hostilities break out once again.
Israel got a taste of that in the 34-day 2006 war, when Hezbollah unleashed nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, the heaviest bombardment Israelis have ever suffered.
These weapons, mainly unguided rockets, killed around 50 people.
Next time, Israel is likely to be hammered with far greater broadsides using missiles with far greater range, accuracy and destructive power than ever before. Fatality forecasts run into thousands…