Israel Swears in Gadi Eizenkot as New Army Chief of Staff

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Israeli Army's new Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot reviews the honor guard during a farewell ceremony for his predecessor Lieutenant General Benny Gantz on February 16, 2015 at the Defense Ministry in the coastal Israeli city of Tel Aviv. AFP/Jack Guez

Published Monday, February 16, 2015

Israeli Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot was sworn in on Monday as Israel's new army chief-of-staff, replacing Lieutenant General Benny Gantz.

"I am taking this responsibility as chief-of-staff in the midst of a stressful period with many challenges in the Middle East," Eizenkot said at an inauguration ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The army under my command will always be strong and ready to defend the people of Israel," he said.

Born in the city of Tiberias to Jewish Moroccan immigrants in 1960, Eizenkot served in Israel's Golani Brigades in 1978, serving as brigade commander from 1997 to 1998.

Eizenkot has also served in the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the West Bank.

In 1999, he was named military secretary to then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

In 2006, Eizenkot replaced Major General Udi Adam as head of Israel's Northern Command.

During the 2006 war on Lebanon, Eizenkot served as head of the General Staff Operations Directorate, and then general officer commanding (GOC) Northern Command. He then became the deputy chief of staff of the Northern Command.

At the ceremony, Netanyahu warned that the next four years would "change the world."

"I can guarantee that there won't be an easy day. Israel faces many challenges. The Middle East is falling apart," Netanyahu said. "Only the strong survive."

Netanyahu renewed his longstanding accusation that Iran sought to build a nuclear bomb. "Iran is building a military power and now it stands on the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb," he said in reference to the Houthi takeover in Yemen.

Israel is widely suspected to be the only country in the Middle East to have nuclear weapons.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was not a priority for Israel.

"There is no Israeli interest in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. On the contrary, I want it to be stable, responsible and able to cooperate," he said.

The statement follows Israel freezing Palestinian tax revenues again in February as punishment for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) application to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), raising the amount of frozen Palestinian tax revenues to approximately $228 million.

The PA applied to join the ICC to lodge complaints of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Israel. The decision came following Israel’s deadly offensive on Gaza last summer.

At least 2,300 Palestinians, an estimated 70 percent of them civilians, and 72 Israelis, 66 of them soldiers, were killed during the 51-day war in Gaza.

"Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the global jihad organizations are our top priorities for now," Ya'alon added.

Iranian Defense Minister General Hussein Dehqan declared in January that Tehran would arm Palestinians in the West Bank against the Zionist state, after the death of Iranian Revolutionary Guards General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi.

Allahdadi was killed along with six fighters of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah by an Israeli helicopter airstrike in January on the Syrian city of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Hezbollah retaliated by claiming responsibility for an attack against an IOF convoy in Israeli-occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms that left a number of Israeli soldiers dead.

Nasrallah, following the retaliation, declared the ‘rules of engagement’ with Israel over adding that Hezbollah would retaliate against any future Israeli attacks on its members “whenever, however and wherever.”

According to Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, January’s escalation was the "most severe" Israel had faced since 2006, when its war with Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

(Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

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We will Defend the Palestinian people who ever these ZIO-Dogs try to harm the P!gS have no honour or intellect and when they die may they burn in HELL forever so when they start the next war we will send so many of them down the the streets of the fake state will run red with Bl00D

Al-Qassam Brigades!!! Al-Qassam Brigades!!! Al-Qassam Brigades!!!

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