September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has warned that the regions could fall into wide-scale violence if the recently launched Middle East peace talks fail.

Confrontations with the Palestinians would be "inevitable" if the Israeli-Palestinian direct negotiations come to a halt, local daily Ha'aretz quoted Anhkenazi as addressing the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Security Committee on Tuesday.

He estimated, however, that the potential violence would not be on a par with confrontations in the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.

Ashkenazi said the assessment was based on the pessimism of West Bank Palestinians concerning the success of the direct talks.

The IDF is preparing to counter wide-scale Palestinian violence in case the U.S.-mediated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks fail, according to the report.

Ashkenazi is about to step down from his post in February, 2011 when Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant takes his place.


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