During Visit, Canadian Defense Staff Chief Comments on Goldstone Report
21 October 2009
The Canadian Armed Forces Chief of the Defense Staff, General Walter J. Natynczyk, finished a three day professional visit to Israel yesterday, October 20th, 2009. In an interview with the IDF military journal BaMahane (“In the Camp”), the general commented on the Goldstone report, saying:
“I’ve got to look through the whole report and read it through myself. But I fully understand how when someone is attacked from houses, family houses, and so on, that there is a responsibility to protect oneself and protect civilians. I want to have a look at the report myself and understand the full context. I have just had a great education in terms of where weapons were fired from and so on. I want to look at the report in terms of how does it describe it… My impression of the Gaza Strip up to now has been through media reports. Now I got to actually see the size, the space, the context… It just puts into perspective many of the reports and also the operations that were conducted before.”
Gen. Natynczyk arrived in Israel on Sunday for a three day work visit as guest of the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Over the course of the three days, Gen. Natynczyk held meetings with Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi, and Israel’s Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, and toured Israel.
Gen. Natyniczyk toured the skies of Israel by helicopter, and visited both the Northern Command and the Southern Command. In Israel’s north, the general visited the Galilee Division and the Israeli northern community of Mizpe Benaya. In addition, the general was briefed by senior officers of the Northern Command, regarding Israel’s relations with Syria and Lebanon, and observed Israel’s border area with the two countries.
The Canadian Armed Forces Chief of the Defense Staff also visited the IDF Southern Command and the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration in Erez, and was briefed regarding Operation Cast Lead as well as the various weapons systems used by IDF forces in their day-to-day activity.
Towards the end of his visit, General Natynczyk toured the Tel-Nof Air force Base in central Israel, where seniors in the Ministry of Defense Administration for weaponry research and Technology Development presented him with newly developed Israeli technologies.
General Natynczyk related to the similarities between what is required of Israel and what is required of his country as part of the battle against terror, saying: “I’m not sure if the Israeli standpoint is that much different than the Canadian standpoint, having had the experience in Afghanistan.” The general also said: “We have really come to understand and appreciate what the Israeli forces have had to counter for quite some time and the techniques, the way and the procedures that the Israeli military has adopted and evolved over the past few decades.” He added: “We’re learning what can we adopt from Israeli forces that will enable us to reduce risks to our people”.