Israeli army chief General Gabi Ashkenazi told soldiers graduating the Israel Defense Force's Officer Training School on Wednesday that they may soon be called upon to put their new battlefield command skills to the ultimate test.
Ashkenazi told the new officers that Israel faces many threats to its continued survival, and that he "cannot guarantee that we won't need to act in the near future."
As opposed to the outcome of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the general said future conflicts must end with a quick and decisive Israeli victory.
Among the more serious threats facing Israel at the moment is the incessant Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The hundreds of rockets being fired from Gaza every month have miraculously failed to cause many casualties or hit sensitive facilities well within their range, such as power stations and chemical storage tanks in the port city of Ashkelon.
Five more rockets were fired at battered southern Israel communities on Wednesday, damaging several buildings but causing no injuries.
Israeli security officials fear the Palestinians in Gaza will soon ramp up the threat by making use of more advanced weapons recently smuggled into the coastal territory via Egypt.
In related news, Israeli defense officials told The Jerusalem Post this week that the Bush Administration is examining the possibility of inserting NATO forces into Judea and Samaria to facilitate a more rapid Israeli withdrawal from the area. Washington wants Israel to expel all Jews living in Judea and Samaria and surrender the nation's biblical heartland for the creation of a new Muslim Arab state.
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