Unless Israel commits to further withdrawals after this summer's
disengagement from Gaza, the pullout will be followed by an outbreak
renewed violence, outgoing Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff
Ya'alon warned in an interview with Haaretz.
"If there is an Israeli commitment to another move, we will
period of quiet," he said. "If not, there will be an eruption
attacks of all types: shooting, bombs, suicide bombers, mortars,
rockets." Without an additional withdrawal, "there is
a high probability of
a second war of terror," which will begin in the West Bank.
Asked whether he intended to say that, following the disengagement,
Sava's situation will be like Sderot's today, he responded: "And
and Jerusalem, too. There will be suicide bombings wherever they
Ya'alon said that recent statements by Palestinian Authority Chairman
Mahmoud Abbas show that Abbas "has not given up the right of
this is not a symbolic right of return, but the right of return
as a claim
to be realized. To return to the houses, to return to the villages.
implication of this is that there will not be a Jewish state here."
Therefore, he said, the establishment of a Palestinian state will
war "at some stage," and such a war could be dangerous
for Israel. The idea that a Palestinian state can be established
by 2008, and will then produce stability, is "divorced from
reality" and "dangerous," as any such state "will
be a state that will try to undermine Israel."
Asked about the current situation in the PA, Ya'alon responded:
Palestinians it is still convenient to maintain a gang-based reality
than a state foundation.
"When [the PA] permits Hamas to take part in the elections
abandoning its firearms, is that democracy? It's gangs. Armed gangs
playing at pretend democracy," he said. "If Fatah continues
to behave as it does now, Hamas will eventually take over the Gaza
Strip," he added.
Regarding the IDF's plans for implementing the disengagement from
Ya'alon said that the army is preparing for the possibility of entering
Yunis "if there is shooting from there" during the withdrawal.
disengagement, he continued, will not create a "situation of
Therefore, "I do not rule out" the possibility that the
army will return to
the Gaza Strip at some point.
Ya'alon said it is impossible to know how long the disengagement
"The question is whether we evacuate 8,000 residents or 20,000
citizens or maybe 50,000. If you evacuate 8,000, it could last three
If you have to evacuate more, it could take longer." In other
said, it is too soon to talk about the withdrawal as a fait accompli.
and when we complete the move, we will talk about a fait accompli."
Asked for his views on the general concept of two states for two
peoples, he said: "In the present reality, I see difficulty
in producing a stable
situation of end-of-conflict within that paradigm." A two-state
continued, is simply "not relevant. It is a story that the
tells with Western eyes. And that story does not comprehend the
scale of the gap and the scale of the problem. We, too, are sweeping
it under the
Asked whether he fears for Israel's existence, Ya'alon responded:
combination of terrorism and demography, with question marks among
us about the rightness of our way, are a recipe for a situation
in which there will
not be a Jewish state here in the end."
Regarding the army that he leaves behind, Ya'alon said he was concerned
about the existence of a "criminal subculture" in the
army that has even
reached senior officers and become a "malignant disease."
Naomi Ragen is a well known commentator on the Arab conflict with
Israel. You can read her columns and reach her at: