Chief of Staff: We investigated ourselves before Goldstone

IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

The Chief of the General Staff assembled the IDF (Zahal) Senior Command Forum for a summary of 2009 and to discuss the upcoming year

Date: 02/02/2010, 3:33 PM    

Today, February 1st, 2010, the IDF (Zahal) Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen Gabi Ashkenazi, assembled the IDF (Zahal) Senior Command Forum, comprising officers from the rank of Colonel as well as reserves brigade commanders, for a summary of 2009 and a presentation of the work plan for the upcoming year, as was authorized by him. The President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak and the IDF (Zahal) Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi were all present and addressed the forum. The conference was held at the IAF base in Hatzor.

The work plan for 2010 is part of the IDF (Zahal) multi-year plan, also known as Tefen. Its implementation is made possible by the IDF (Zahal)’s ability to execute long term plans in terms of purchase, training and strengthening the IDF (Zahal), following the decisions made by the Brodet Committee.

In addition to discussing the 2010 work plan, the officers and commanders raised various defense related issues regarding Israel’s and the IDF (Zahal)’s agenda.

Head of the IDF (Zahal) Planning Division, Brig. Gen. Lawrence Mualem, presented the forum with the main points of the 2010 work plan. The plan is based on the yearly intelligence, strategic and personnel assessments, the standing budget and human resources and the required operational preparations in light of existing threats.

The president of the state of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, described the changes he expects to occur in the Middle East in the coming decade in terms of demography and diplomatic agreements. The President further said that in his opinion, a scientific breakthrough will take place in ten to fifteen years and will change the entire world.

The president praised the commanding officers of the IDF (Zahal) for their contribution to the security of Israel and for constituting a leading echelon in the Israeli society.

President Peres addressed the officers and stated “The difference between us, the Israeli society, and our enemies, Hezbollah and Hamas, is that while we operate to defend our children, they use their children as shields”.

The president emphasized the importance of IDF (Zahal) activity in the Judea and Samaria region for combating terrorism, maintaining the normal life routine of the local population, decreasing the number of checkpoints and roadblocks and strengthening the Palestinian economy.

The president addressed the Iranian issue, saying that: “Iran becoming nuclear is the most significant strategic issue we are facing. In addition to economical sanctions and global policy, there has to be a unified ethical call against the corruption of the Iranian leadership and it’s immorality”.

The IDF (Zahal) Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, defined the Goldstone report as false and deceiving and opposed the founding of an external investigation committee that will investigate IDF (Zahal) soldiers and officers.

He added that “We began investigating ourselves and reaching conclusions immediately following Operation Cast Lead. We did so long before we got familiar with the name ‘Goldstone’. We investigate for our own sake, and no one else’s. We need to address the challenges presented in the report, but not by forming an external investigation committee”.

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi presented the forum with his directions towards the year 2010 and said that the IDF (Zahal) must constantly improve its preparedness for security challenges, if it so happens that they are forced upon us, and emphasized that the Israeli Home Front will be the main frontier during any future conflict.

Additionally, the Chief of the General staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, presented the challenge of transforming the IDF (Zahal) into an environment-friendly army, in spite of the IDF (Zahal)’s large scale training and activity. In regards to that matter, he said – “It is a challenge to all of us, and I anticipate celebrating the opening of the IDF (Zahal)’s first “green” base.”