Chief of Staff: “Lebanon is responsible for preventing the flotilla from leaving to Gaza”

Ran Ladin, IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi discussed the expected Lebanese flotilla and investigations into previous flotilla-related events during a visit to the Intake and Sorting Base on Sunday morning (July 25)

Date: 25/07/2010, 4:13 PM    

On Sunday morning (July 25), the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi visited the Intake and Sorting Base, known as the Bakum, for the opening of the August enlistment cycle. This year, the enlistment to infantry units began with enlistment to the Givati Brigade and the Field Intelligence Corps. The current enlistment cycle reflects a continuing increase in the motivation to join combat units in comparison with the August 2009 cycle: 73.3% of those qualified to serve in field units requested to serve as combat soldiers, compared with 71.9% in last year’s enlistment cycle.

Despite the growing motivation to join combat units, the Chief of the General Staff noted that there is still work to be done in order to broaden service in the IDF (Zahal) to extend to additional population demographics, according to the model of national service. “We must pass from a model of mandatory military service to a model of obligation to serve”, he said.

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi also spoke about the provocation flotilla expected to depart from Lebanon. According to him, “the IDF (Zahal) is prepared for any situation, should the ships depart on their way and request to arrive to the Gaza Strip”. The Chief of the General Staff also stressed that “The Lebanese government has the responsibility to prevent the ships from leaving for Gaza”.

The Chief of the General Staff also referred to the exploratory committee and the investigations that are being carried out following recent IDF (Zahal) activity in response to provocation events which took place in the heart of the sea, and he said, “My personal opinion is that there is no place for a multitude of investigatory committees about this particular event”. According to him, “the IDF (Zahal) position was and still is to preserve the soldiers’ and commanders’ immunity and to keep military investigations that may harm state security inside the army”. That being said, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi noted that “We need to investigate each incident and that is what we do for each individual case”.