On Monday, July 18th, 2005, Maj. Gen. (ret) Yaakov Amidror, outgoing head of IDF intelligence, and Col. (ret.) Shuki Rinsky, head of the IDF Gaza division, spoke at the King David Hotel Lecture Hall in Jerusalem in Jerusalem at a forum sponsored by the Center For Near East Policy Research.
The subject: How would Israel’s unilateral disengagement affect the war on Islamic terror being waged by the west and by Israel.
Both General Amidror and Col. addressed the security risks inherent in the “disengagement” plan, since the world would see terrorists witness a surrender and withdrawal after conducting thousands of terror attacks.
In other words, terror pays.
Gen. Amidror stated from the outset that he did not dispute the right of an Israeli government to set its own borders, and that his critique of Sharon’s disengagement plan was based on logic and military strategic thinking – not ideology.
Amidror seemed to critique the Sharon Plan from a left wing point of view, saying that it actually discourages negotiations. Since Israel asks nothing from the P.A., the attitude that Amidror sees among the Palestinians could best be expressed with an attitude of “Why negotiate when we can get concessions with no reciprocity”?
Amidror stressed that the plan will endanger all areas of Israel, placing all of the Negev within range of Kassam rockets.
Within weeks or months of the pullout, Amidror predicted, a good part of Israel may experience a barrage of Ketusha and Kassam launchings and not have any freedom to maneuver.
Amidror instead predicted additional pressure being put on Israel, with the EU asking, “What next?” meaning “What should Israel do next?”
Amidror posited that this move will be viewed as a great achievement for terrorist organizations, strengthening the hand of those who support terrorism as the way to defeat Israel – with Judea and Samaria the next targets.
From a global point of view, Amidror noted, this would constitute a mistake of historical dimensions, saying that “twice historically terrorism has been demonstrated to be effective – with Arafat in the 70s and with Mujahdeen rebels in Afghanistan in the 80s. “Disengagement” mark the third victory for terrorism. Israel is adding to the atmosphere in which terrorism flourishes.
Col Rinsky pointed out that even when strong, the P.A. never entered the UNRWA refugee camp in Rafiah (where terrorism flourishes). This is the entity to which Israel would entrust security in the area. The only way to control the problem of rockets and tunnels (used for smuggling weapons) is with IDF forces on the ground in Gaza. Col. Rinsky also surprised his audience when he noted that the Gaza division of the IDF was never even consulted as to the consequences of an IDF pullout from Katif,
Both Amidror and Rinsky were clear in their analiyis that Israel did stop terrorism in the West Bank and can continue to do so, if there is freedom of movement for the IDF.
To the claim that Israel can simply “go back in” when faced with hostility, Amidror explains that “Once Israel is out of an area, going back would not be a simple matter – in spite of claims to the contrary”.
Amidror noted that Israel simply could not re-enter Arab cities in Judea and Samaria in April 2002 until more than 10,000 terror attacks had occurred… so that an Israeli invasion of Gaza in case of sporadic terror attacks would not be understood in any circle of diplomacy.