IDF Chief: Hamas, Hezbollah Would Fail if Facing IDF in Conventional Battlefield

Gabi Ashkenazi said Israel shouldn't discount Hamas and Hezbollah, but 'they are not able to conquer the Negev or Galilee.'

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The Israel Defense Forces outgoing chief of staff made it clear on Monday that Hezbollah and Hamas would fail if facing the IDF in conventional warfare.

"I don't discount Hamas or Hezbollah," Gabi Ashkenazi said while speaking at the 11th annual Israeli security conference in Herzliya, "But they are not able to conquer the Negev or the Galilee."

Israel's southern Negev region is a continuous target for rockets launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Israel also faced rocket fire on its northern border during a war with Hezbollah in 2006.

"We have to be ready to fight on more than one front," Ashkenazi said, adding that in the future, the IDF must be "ready for conventional, unconventional and non-conventional warfare."

"Hezbollah and Hamas are aware that meeting us on the classic battlefield would be devastating," the IDF chief said. "Therefore they assemble in urban areas."

Speaking about the recent uprising in Egypt and how it would affect Israel, Ashkenazi said "peace with Egypt is a strategic asset of Israel."

"I hope it will remain steady but it's hard to tell," Ashkenazi said.

He said there may be more uprisings, similar to the one in Egypt due to "a significant amount of power being passed to the people."

"It is possible that we will see waves of revolutions like these," the IDF chief said about the uprising in the Arab world, "The question is will they have a domino effect or not."

Ashkenazi is set to end his position as IDF chief this week. He acknowledged that though he was leaving, the IDF remains strong.

"It is an army that understands its responsibility," Ashkenazi said.

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi speaking at a military exercise in the Arava desert in southern Israel on October 12, 2010. Credit: AP

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