Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces Aviv Kochavi recognised last week that Israel failed to prevent Palestinian resistance in Gaza from launching rockets and mortar shells during the 11-day Israeli offensive on the besieged enclave, the Times of Israel reported.
Speaking at a conference commemorating former Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, at the military’s college north of Tel Aviv, Kochavi stated: “We thwarted the overwhelming majority of the rockets that were fired at Israel. In terms of the results, Hamas largely failed at what it planned.”
Kochavi said that the Israeli military had to be “modest” in assessing the effectiveness of its aggression on the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, noting that tactical victories do not necessarily result in long-term calm.
“The Six-Day War (of 1967) was a clear, decisive victory, and a short time later the War of Attrition broke out,” he said, noting that the offensive on Gaza did not aim to end Hamas’s rule, but to achieve a degree of deterrence against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and to destroy their abilities to wage war in the future.
“Guardian of the Walls wasn’t meant to provide a decisive victory in Gaza, but to use military force in order to deny Hamas and PIJ many of their capabilities and to create deterrence, which I will leave to the passage of time to determine how much we succeeded,” Kochavi expressed.
“We denied them massive capabilities in the areas of rocket and missile production and other weapons; we neutralised the subterranean domain, something they had put stock in for 15 years, which they will have to think about how to proceed with going forward,” he added.
He continued: “We almost totally destroyed the air and naval capabilities that they had – and they did have them; we killed their members, including senior operatives; and no less importantly, we thwarted most of the attacks that they tried to carry out.”
Kochavi also conveyed that the Israeli army “struck three times as many targets – three times more and high-quality targets – than we did in previous operations.”
According to Kochavi, Israel needs to develop clear policies regarding the Gaza Strip and Hamas in order to achieve a “strategic victory” over the terror group: “We are planning for this. There will not be a repeat of what has been, both in terms of our retaliations and in terms of our treatment of Hamas.”