Expert Opinions on Security Issues

by Robert Klein

 
1. Foreword
2. Influential Figures
3. Military, Security, Government & Academic Figures
4. More Online References

1. Foreword

Below is a summary table of what Israel's top security experts, academics, and senior officials, have said publicly in relation to the security ramifications of Disengagement. The experts were selected first and foremost for their seniority, but also for other attributes, such as degree of involvement in the formulation of the Disengagement Plan, appearance before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, or for a particularly significant security observation; the material has been collated from a range of resources and references are provided..

By definition, it might appear that a substantial ratio of security experts are quite concerned about the security implications of Disengagement: most of the opinions range from cautious to foreboding, but one should distinguish between professional analytical expertise and the responsibility these figures carry to advise on contingency planning. Indeed, many of these same experts have gone on record as supporting Disengagement. It all comes down to cost-benefit analyses of diplomatic, political, demographic, social, and/or economic considerations.

The preponderance of cautious opinions or serious concerns raised should therefore be understood as a signal that Israel's Disengagement involves genuine security risks, which need to be taken into account when assessing the value and practicalities of the Disengagement Plan.

2. Influential Figures

Security Expert Position Key Security Observations & Opinions
Shaul Mofaz Defense Minister; Former IDF Chief-of-Staff 1. PA leadership desires to end terrorism, and is capable of dismantling terrorist organizations.
2. Palestinian terrorist groups plan to attack Israelis ahead of Disengagement, in revenge for targeted assassinations.
3. Many Egyptian-made RPG's have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip, although most PA weapons are manufactured in Iran.
4. IDF will not be able to easily respond to Kassam attacks on southern/coastal Israel, if PA develops urban areas in northern Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Mofaz, Defense Committee head Steinitz on security issues

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=433639 or mofaz.html
Lieut.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon IDF Chief of Staff to 1st June, 2005 1. The only way to prevent missile attacks is to maintain the IDF presence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
2. Terror attacks will almost certainly continue and increase – at least in the short term - after Disengagement. There may be a rise in terror, even before the Disengagement.
3. If Israel agrees to further withdrawals in the West Bank, it may be able to buy another period of reduced terrorism. However, even if a two-state solution is reached, there will not be peace because the PA, including Fatah, are dedicated to Israel's destruction.
4. Hamas is building up its military power faster than Fatah and the PA. Furthermore, as the PA has begun to enfranchise Hamas politically without collecting its weapons, Hamas has the potential to take over the PA.
5. The planned withdrawals will give the terrorist groups a psychological boost.
Lieut.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon reports on security concerns after Disengagement

http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/5579.htm
http://www.jewishvoice.com/my_weblog/2005/04/idf_chief_of_st.html
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/582916.html or yaalon.html
Avi Dichter Chief of Israel's General Security Services (GSS), until May 2005 1. Disengagement will not increase or decrease the effort the PA and terrorists put into developing weapons
2. The PA is developing longer-range missiles and chemical weapons in order to render the West Bank and Gaza Strip security fences ineffectual in preventing attacks on Israeli cities.
3. Hamas has built a Hizbullah-like army in the Gaza Strip.
Avi Dichter warns of Palestinian plans for post-Disengagement

http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=19921

5B.3. Military, Security, Government & Academic Figures

Security Expert Position Key Security Observations & Opinions
Yossi Alpher rmer Director, The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University 1. The real security risks raised by Disengagement and withdrawal are worth the risk, when balanced against the demographic realities.
2. A final status two-state solution cannot guarantee that terrorism and missiles will cease. Support for Disengagement must therefore be based on a prioritization of demographic and political benefits over security concerns.
Yossi Alpher explains why Disengagement is worth the security risks

http://www.peacenow.org/briefs.asp?rid=&cid=187
Maj-Gen. Yaakov Amidror Former head of Israel's National Defense College; Former head of Research and Assessment Division, IDF intelligence 1. Islamic terror will gain a huge psychological boost, since Disengagement will be perceived as "flight"from terror.
2. After Disengagement, the Gaza Strip will represent a strategic threat to Israel .
3. The IDF will lose both response ability and local intelligence by abandoning the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, both of which are likely to become sources of future missile attacks.
4. The Gaza Strip fence will be far less defensible without the existing IDF-controlled 1 km buffer zone inside the electronic fence.
5. Only continued Israeli military presence can maintain Israel's current improved security situation; Israel should wait for a true peace partner to emerge before negotiating future withdrawals.

http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v7n3p3Ami.html
Yigal Ben-Aryeh Israel Electric Corporation official and responsible for preparedness after Disengagement. 1. The Rutenberg Power Station South of Ashkelon, which supplies 22.5% of Israel's electricity, is already within range of Kassam rockets, yet has not been attacked so far.
2. The expanse and design of the station makes it unlikely for a Kassam to be able to cause a serious reduction in electrical output.
3. However, a successful hit on the station would also leave Hebron area Arabs without electricity, acting as a major deterrent to attacks on the station.
Maj.-Gen. David Ben-Besht Commander of The Israel Navy 1. Arms, terrorist and drug smuggling via sea will increase after Disengagement.
2. Israel needs to invest in more sophisticated patrol boats to monitor fishing boats.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=74589
Maj.-Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu Former Commander of the Israel Airforce; currently involved in hi-tech defense design 1. Israel has the technology to strike specific targets with sufficient speed, such that there is no longer a military need to maintain a physical presence in the Gaza Strip - unless terrorism and missile attacks were to rise dramatically, in which case, the IDF would be compelled to reoccupy the Strip.
2. Terrorists may soon manage to extend the range of the Qassam rocket to 20km and could then hit targets in major population areas within range of the northern West Bank, such as: Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, Netanya, Kfar Saba, and Ra'anana. Ben-Gurion Airport would also then come within missile range, which would seriously affect tourism even if no planes were hit.
3. Disengagement will neither improve nor harm Israel's security in the South. The debate over Gush Katif is a purely ideological issue regarding the political and spiritual value of the Gaza Strip settlements.
4. Israel must maintain the military and political ability to enter the Gaza Strip quickly when necessary, in order to deal with missile attacks.
5. Disengagement will detract from the political ability of the PA to launch attacks from the Gaza Strip; hence in the long run, Disengagement may lead to a reduction in missile attacks.
Security and political aspects of Disengagement

http://toronto.ujcfedweb.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=122559
http://www.aijac.org.au/updates/Aug-03/140803.html
Brig.-Gen. Shlomo Brom Senior analyst, The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University

1. Disengagement will fail if it is not fully coordinated with the PA, including agreement on the goals of the post-disengagement political process. One of these goals must be the complete withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank.
2. In order for the occupation of the Gaza Strip to end, Israel must leave the Philadelphia Route, and cede control over Gazan airspace and coastal waters. International monitors must be used to ensure weapons smuggling via land, air and sea stops.
3. Disengagement will fail if terrorism and counter-terrorism measures persist.
4. Disengagement will fail if the living conditions of the PA residents do not improve rapidly in the near future.

http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v7n2p2Bro.html
Teh Disengagement Plan: The Day After:
http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v8n1p2Brom.html

Col. Uzi Buchbinder Head of the IDF Home Front Command's Civil Defense Department 1. IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip will leave 46 Israeli communities within the current range of Palestinian Kassam rockets, and at increased risk of terrorist infiltration.
2. At least 17 Israeli communities are at high risk for rockets and infiltrations, and construction will begin on special defense measures
Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Uzi Dayan Former IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff, former Chairman of Israel's National Security Council, Chairman of the Forum for National Responsibility, founding Chairman of Israel's National Committee for the Security Fence

1. Assessment: The emergence of a pragmatic Palestinian leadership willing to reign in the terrorists is a realistic possibility in the near future. At the same time, such a leadership will not be strong enough to completely control the terrorists, and therefore Israel must develop a security concept to complement its cooperation or coordination with a pragmatic, anti-terror, Palestinian leadership.

2. Assessment: Israel needs a security strategy, as part of its comprehensive approach to the PA. Disengagement, which includes the building of the West Bank security fence, can act as the first stage, provided Israel is prepared to withdraw unilaterally from the fenced-out portions of the West Bank, should the negotiation track fail.

3. Belief: That the completion of the West Bank security fence is crucial to provision of security for Israel, hence to making Disengagement work.

4. Belief: That disengagement will reduce the demographic pressure on Israel, which will cease to have administrative responsibilities, or control, over Arab residents of the PA.

http://www.israelfence.org/dayanspeech.html
http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041111-025414-4599r.htm

Yosef Draisen Water Commission official 1. The Beit Shean and Jezreel valleys could be dried up by Palestinians drilling and siphoning off water in the northern West Bank.
Giora Eiland Head of Israel's National Security Council, designer of Disengagement Plan, Chairman of Steering Committee for Implementation

1. "… should it prove impossible to implement the Road Map, Israel will simply have no alternative other than to initiate unilateral disengagement. This will reflect a decision on our part to begin a process of separation between our two peoples." Feb 12, 2004
http://www.embassyofisrael.com/articles/2004/February/2004021200.htm

2. Estimates: 3 possible scenarios (October 19, 2004):
i. Less violence and a calming of the situation*;
ii. Terrorists in Gaza will view evacuation as a victory and step up their attacks (short term)
iii. Terrorists in West Bank will continue violence, triggering IDF response, terrorists in Gaza will then join in.

3. *Belief: That the withdrawal will lead to a drop in terrorism, in the long term.
http://www.isracast.com/Transcripts/191004a_trans.htm

Brig.-Gen. Gadi Eisencott Commander, IDF's Judea and Samaria Division, new Director, IDF Intelligence

1. Belief: the war on terror is won by intelligence, control over the territory and population.
2.After disengagement, the IDF will have limited control; there will be no choice but to transfer control to the Palestinians, who will be assisted by third parties, such as American and British intelligence.

3. Belief: that many Palestinians today think that terror does them no good, and much depends on the Israeli side, too. But, there should be zero tolerance of Kassam rocket missiles on Israeli cities, and if violence is renewed, the IDF must do everything to win tangibly, at the lowest possible cost to Israel.
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/577293.html or schiff.html

Carmi Gillon Mayor of Mevasseret Tzion, former Chief of Israel's General Security Services 1. The PA has the power to prevent terrorism, but still lacks the will to do so. A two-state solution will be viable when the PA desires to stamp out terrorism.
2. Intelligence gathering can be done effectively, even without an open IDF presence in the Territories, although the means are top secret (presumably hi-tech spy equipment and a human spy/informer network).
3. The main reason to support Disengagement is that military occupation is bad for Israeli society; security risks can be minimized.
Haaretz Q&A with Carmi Gillon

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/QA.jhtml?qaNo=126&m=126#4734
Prof. Efraim Inbar Director, The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), Bar Ilan University 1. Israel should not relinquish the three North Gaza settlements adjacent to Israel, because this sets a precedent for withdrawal to the 1967 borders, in that it prejudges issues, such as changing demographic realities.
2. Israel should relinquish control over the Philadelphia Route,because unless Disengagement is complete it will become a pretext for further attacks. Moreover, a common PA-Egypt border would create a demographic “safety valve”, while motivating Egypt to assert more control over the Gaza Strip, in order to prevent the emergence of a Hamas state.
3. Israel should cease providing water, electricity and gas to the Gaza Strip, as well as close entry to Israel for Palestinian workers, in order to make it clear to the PA that Disengagement is not a reward, but rather a punishment for terror.
Roni Mehatzri Mayor of Ashkelon 1. The Katza gas facility has above ground storage units within 1 mile of Ashkelon residents, such that a missile strike could endanger up to 10,000 residents.
Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh IDF Head of Central Command 1. Arms smuggling to the West Bank has already increased sharply, in anticipation of the pull-out.
2. After disengagement, terror from the northern West Bank will increase, and missile attacks will also begin from there.
Proposal to keep the IDF in northern Samaria for at least 4 months after Disengagement

http://www.isracast.com/Transcripts/290505a_trans.htm
Amir Oren Military affairs correspondent, Haaretz newspaper 1. Egypt aspires to be the dominant economic power in the Middle East, and feels threatened by an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. Egypt has therefore allowed the terrorists to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian territory.
2. Egypt has always had the resources to stifle arms smuggling. Hence, the existence of widespread smuggling proves that Egypt views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an Egyptian interest.
3. IDF security experts view war with Egypt as a real possibility after Mubarak's death. Hence, relinquishing control of the Gaza-Egypt border constitutes a future strategic threat to Israel.
4. PM Ariel Sharon has intimidated IDF and other security officials, some of whom have since withheld their security concerns regarding the Disengagement Plan.
Why Egypt wants Israelis and Palestinians to fight
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=435191 or oren.html
Emanuel Sakal Director-General of Katza gas facility, South of Ashkelon 1. The Katza gas facility's gas containers are subterranean and dispersed, making the danger of a Kassam rocket attack minimal.
MK Yuval Steinitz Chairman, The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee 1. Egypt has deliberately tolerated arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip.
2. Handing over control of the Egypt-Gaza border to Egypt would be a strategic disaster.
Defense Minister Mofaz; Security & Defense Committee Chairman Steinitz on security issues

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=433639 or mofaz.html
Col. Mordechai Yogev Member, National Security Forum 1. Disengagement and withdrawal from Northern Shomron will expose over 150,000 Israelis in North-Central Israel to missile attacks, in addition to a similar number around the Gaza Strip.
2. South of Ashkelon, several power facilities will be exposed to increased threats of missile attack after Disengagement. This includes: 3 power stations, an oil pipeline, a gas storage facility, a gas depot planned for the area, and the Rabin power station in Hadera (adjacent to the West Bank).
3. The IDF needs to control all areas from where missiles are launched, in order to guarantee Israeli.

4. More Online References

Several security experts present observations to the Israel Knesset Interior Committee
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/
JPArticle/Printer&cid=1105418784162&p=1078027574097

See also: FAQ.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

 

 

 

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08 Nov 2005 / 6 Heshvan 5766 0