It was no accident that some Syrian shipments of advanced missile systems to Hezbollah did not make it to their destination, former National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror told the Tablet magazine.
In the interview, published Wednesday, Amidror was asked about advanced Russian missile systems that have made their way from Syria to Lebanon and replied, “Some of these systems did make their way into Lebanon, but most of them did not reach Lebanon. And that wasn’t an accident. This is our policy. And the Russians don’t agree with us, but at least they know all the details of our policy.”
“I think it’s important that in this dialogue with the Russians, we are telling them the truth: They are providing one of the most dangerous enemies of the State of Israel, namely Hezbollah, with capabilities that might endanger Israel’s ability to defend itself, and we will not let it happen,” he added.
“And we keep our promises, and the Russians know it. At the end of the day, Russia is a sovereign state, and they are making their own decisions. But at the same time, Israel is also a sovereign state, and we are making our own decisions.”
Amidror said that he believes an Al-Qaeda-controlled Syria would be “better” for Israel than if President Bashar Al-Assad, who is backed by Iran and Hezbollah, would remain in power.
“We don’t cooperate with the Assad regime. At the end of the day, on one side you have the combination of Iran, Hezbollah and Assad. And on the other side you have Al-Qaeda-like organizations. I think that from the Israeli point of view, both sides are bad—very bad. So then you ask yourself a very interesting question: If you have to make a decision between the two, which one is worse? It’s a very, very interesting question, and you can hear many voices in Israel offering opinions,” he said.
“My personal view, and it’s entirely personal, is that, at the end of the day, Hezbollah, with the backing of Iran, which is a huge and very strong state, is more dangerous than Al-Qaeda, which, as extremist as they are, lacks the backing of any state. But both are very, very bad,” said Amidror.
The interview also referred to the American efforts to secure peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Asked whether he believes those efforts will be successful, Amidror told Tablet, “That depends on the details of the final proposal. If the Americans succeed in bringing to the agreement all of the elements that are needed - namely, to make sure that there is a secure buffer between the Palestinian state and the Arab world, that there is not going to be a new Gaza in Ramallah, and that Israel will have satisfactory arrangements to deal with emerging terrorist capabilities within the West Bank - if all of these elements will be in the agreement, and will be part of a clear understanding between us and the Palestinians, and are guaranteed by America, and if we will have the opportunity to keep those security arrangements until it will be understood by us, not by anyone else, when it is time to change them, then I think the agreement will be something that Israel can live with.”
He clarified that “there is no way to get there without Israeli forces along the Jordan River. There is no question about that. This is the minimum, without which there is no way to have the necessary capabilities in our hands.”
Amidror rejected PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s proposal that the new Palestinian state be secured by NATO forces instead of an army.
“One of the principles that Israel has been very clear about since the founding of the state is that we are not outsourcing our security to anyone. We don’t expect, and we don’t want, others to do the job for us,” he told Tablet.
Abbas’s insistence that Israeli military presence in the Palestinian state be limited to a period of three to five years is indicative of the fact that “he does not understand the professional needs in this area of security,” said Amidror.
“It’s not a question of time. It’s a question of capabilities, and the determination to use the capabilities,” he added. “And when the Palestinians will have the capabilities, which they don’t have today, and the determination to use those capabilities, which they also don’t have today, and when both those criteria are met, then, in the future, we might come to a situation in which Israeli troops will not be needed.”