Major General Amos Yadlin, Chief of Military Intelligence, told participants at a Jewish Agency conference in Jerusalem Tuesday that Israel should not withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Nor should it fear a nuclear threat from Iran.
The head of Israel's Military Intelligence Division addressed a wide range of security-related issues, among them the controversial subjects of Israeli withdrawal from parts of Judea and Samaria, and the possible need for a military response to a nuclear threat from Iran.
Yadlin warned that a unilateral withdrawal from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria would be tantamount to inviting Hamas to re-enact its takeover of Gaza.
If Israel withdraws from the West Bank, what happened in Gaza will happen there.
“Hamas does not want peace with Israel,” he pointed out. “It is continuing its terrorist activities, and moderate Palestinians are unable to do anything about [the situation], even though they want peace.”
Yadlin added that he does not believe a political agreement with the PA is in Israel’s best interest. “If Israel withdraws from the West Bank,” he warned, “what happened in Gaza will happen there.”
The intelligence chief also spoke about the threat of war with Syrian and/or another possible conflict with Hizbullah this summer on Israel's northern border. Yadlin admitted that Syria is indeed readying itself for war, but added that it does not appear to be committed to carrying out an attack on Israel.
He also said Hizbullah is unlikely to launch a conflict from southern Lebanon, primarily because it is involved in recruiting and training new members from Iran.
A more serious threat, said Yadlin, is the prospect of an Islamic Republic armed with an atomic bomb. He noted, however, that it will take Iran at least ten years to complete its attempts to build a nuclear weapon.
“Iran is trying to prevent any control over its nuclear development activities,” he said, but noted that the growing threat to Israel is now becoming a threat to Arab nations in the region, “who are beginning to understand that Iran is dangerous” to them as well.
Yadlin was upbeat about Israel’s ability to deal with the threat of terrorism, be it local or international. “Today, Israel is prospering, and terrorism has very little influence over our everyday life. IDF and General Security Service (Shin Bet) officers arrest terrorists every night,” he emphasized. “The peace treaty with Israel has survived and is stable,” an important issue for Israel.
And as far as the threat from Iran, said Yadlin, “We will do whatever is necessary to neutralize the Iranian threat. Israel is strong enough to handle any danger.”