'If We Withdraw from the Jordan Valley, Hamas Will Take Over'
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon believes that the proposal to withdraw from the Jordan Valley, if accepted, could not only add to a general rise in terror attacks against Israel: it could also enable Hamas to take power in other Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled areas, Walla! reports Sunday.
Ya'alon's remarks echo the opinions of senior IDF officials, who weighed the risk of another Hamas uprising in closed talks, according to the Israeli news agency.
"[It's] thanks to the IDF's freedom of movement that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and extremist Salafi groups cannot raise their ugly heads in Judea and Samaria," one senior official stated.
"Just last month we saw what we had to do with special forces in the village of Yatta in South Hevron Hills, what happened in Jenin, Qalqiliya, Nablus and elsewhere," he added, referring to a series of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian terrorist groups, including an incident in the Hevron Hills Arab settlement of Kfar Yatta in which three Salafi terrorists were shot dead by IDF forces, foiling a wave of planned attacks.
The plans laid out by US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly give Israel temporary control of the border along the Jordan Valley, but soon shift control to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The IDF will patrol the length of the Jordan border for the first few years of the US plan. However, after a few years joint patrols will be held with PA forces, with the cooperation of the Jordanians on the other side of the river. The US will also send drones to monitor the area - something IDF officials explain is insufficient to prevent terror attacks.
"US drones can not stop suicide bombers in Jenin and expose explosives," one official explained.
The official made clear that there is significant opposition to passing responsibility for the Jordan border to foreign forces. "[Israel] cannot give access to the border to anyone but the IDF," the official stated. "If the IDF is not there, it looks to me as if there will begin a trend of arms smuggling and terrorism, like we have along the Philadelphia corridor in Gaza."
The official also stated that, to his understanding, Jordan also has refused the arrangement.
"If we transfer control of the region to the PA, then we will have missiles raining down from Nablus on Kfar Saba and Ben Gurion airport," the official added. "In the meantime, the IDF and ISA (Shin Bet) is working to counter Hamas. The PA is not capable of stopping terror."