Moshe Arens on Peace, Tyrants, and Dealing with Gaza
Professor Moshe Arens, former Defense Minister and former Ambassador to the U.S., spoke to Arutz Sheva about the issues facing the nation, including anarchy in Sinai, hostility in Egypt, and whether or not to go to war in Gaza.
You voted against the peace treaty with Egypt. Today we see growing calls in Egypt to cancel it. Is this what you were afraid of when you voted against it?
I objected because there was no reason, after they attacked us four times and were defeated, to give them back what they lost. There is no precedent for that in the history of international relations. So I thought we needed to insist on much better terms.
What do you have to say about the bringing down of the Israeli flag at the Cairo embassy, the threats on the ambassador's life and the calls to cancel the peace treaty?
In case it wasn't already clear, we are now learning that it is much easier to reach a deal with a dictator and tyrant than with a country in a state of anarchy, like Egypt today. Sadat and Mubarak were tyrants, and the assumption was that we could trust their word because they would make sure it was implemented.
Now we need to thank the Creator and rejoice over the fact that those who wanted to reach a deal exchanging the Golan for peace, failed. If they had not, we would now see in the Golan what we see in Sinai.
What do you think we can expect in Sinai after losing all our bartering chips there?
It's anarchy. We're dependent on what happens in Egypt. We still don't see something stabilizing there. With anarchy, anything can happen... Nobody rules in Sinai. The Bedouins who work with Hamas terrorists are in charge there, and we are paying the price.
What should we do in this reality, where there's a threat, but on the other hand they are warning us to do what we can to maintain ties with Egypt in light of the sensitivity?
It doesn't depend on us, but on what happens in Egypt. We must remember that the source of the trouble is Gaza, whether things come from Gaza directly, or indirectly via Sinai. The source is in Gaza and that is what we need to deal with.
Also in Gaza, they tell us the situation is complex. The world is watching... How should we react there, do you think?
The problem in Gaza is different. The problem is that we didn't finish the work in Cast Lead. The minute we didn't finish the work, and left Hamas with thousands of missiles and the ability to replenish its supplies, we knew that the day would come when we would have to deal with it again.
The problem is that for various reasons, including international considerations, we don't have an operation like that twice a week. When we were in there, we needed to finish, and I believe we'll need to find an opportunity to do so.
As long as Hamas rules there and has the ability to threaten Israeli citizens in the south and beyond, and as long as they have the groups they claim not to have control over like Islamic Jihad, as long as that's the situation, what happened is what will happen, and we will have no choice but to go in to Gaza.
With all due respect to 'Iron Dome,' an important technological achievement, it cannot defend our citizens against thousands of missiles.