Those who “sleep with rockets and amass large stockpiles of weapons are in a very unsafe place,” Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said Wednesday, two days after a mysterious explosion at a weapons depot rocked southern Lebanon.
According to Israeli daily Maariv, Eshel also said, “It’s not a secret that Hezbollah has large arms caches, in violation of UN resolutions.” He added that Israel has been clear on the “need to dismantle Hezbollah. The international community is not enforcing the UN resolutions” which call for a munitions free southern Lebanon.
The air force commander, speaking from Israel’s Tel Nof airbase, described 2012 as “a year of intensive and varied achievement on all fronts.”
Last month’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza “was an operation, not a war,” Eshel said, adding, “We are drawing from it… The Israel Air Force performed well, defensively and offensively.”
As for future conflicts, Eshel thinks the Air Force has its work cut out for it. “The enemy will not make the next test easy. Our goal will be to win, and to do so quickly.”
On Syria Eshel was less resolute. Syria “has stockpiles of advanced weapons, including unconventional weapons,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen the day after Assad falls. We are preparing ourselves for this, and for the eventuality of weapons flowing out of Syria.”
Addressing Iran, Eshel said, “This is a very complex issue that has been accompanying us for many years. There’s no doubt that Iran is continuing to make progress in its nuclear project. Our role as the IDF is to allow operational space, so that there really are options on the table.”