Israeli Army Chief Flexes Muscles at Iraq, but Warms to Hamas Deal

Iran's Quds Force is moving advanced weaponry into Iraq on a monthly basis, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said on Wednesday, adding that this is something Israel cannot allow to go on unchecked.

"We cannot allow this to pass without authority," Kochavi said at a conference held at Herzliya's Interdisciplinary College, adding that the weapons transfer is occurring while "Iraq is undergoing a civil war, when the Quds Force is operating there on a daily basis, when the country itself has turned into an ungoverned area."

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He said that the IDF is undertaking enormous efforts, "in the open and undercover, not to allow the enemy to equip itself with high-accuracy weapons, even at the price of confrontation."

Kochavi also discussed Israel's arrangements with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, saying that, at the moment, there is an opportunity to strike an agreement.

According to him, Hamas is once again dictating the agenda, and missile deployment, in the Strip and Israel is involved in a mediation process aided by Egypt where "in exchange for a considerable improvement in the security situation in the Gaza Strip, we will allow for relief for civilians."

He added that this is Israel's policy, and he stands by it. As such, Kochavi noted, the opportunity is a fragile one. "It demands that both sides know how to take advantage of this very unique moment, and in the same breath not to forget for a moment" that Hamas is still holding the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.

"We have to deal with that and return them home, not just the security concerns of the State of Israel," he said.