Both Hamas and Hizbullah will continue to seek Israel's destruction and must not be granted any legitimacy, top security official Amos Gilad said Monday.
Speaking at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau said terror groups were "decent enough to say what they think – that Israel has no right to exist." He said both Hamas and Hizbullah are "entities with an incredibly radical worldview, but they're flexible in terms of timetable. For them, there is no such thing as defeat or surrender."
"If they sustain a blow, as happened in Operation Cast Lead for example, they may accept a temporary agreement. However, in terms of their value system, they can always violate such deal the moment they feel strong enough," he said.
"This is what happened with the previous lull," Gilad said, noting that he was deeply familiar with the issue. "I'm telling you that the lull was unlimited and was not restricted to six months, as Hamas claimed. They violated it because they thought Israel is weak and won't enter Gaza."
"They are capable of agreeing to a 30-year ceasefire and violating it after 30 days," he said. "Those who think that such agreements can serve as a basis for negotiation are wrong. We should never be tempted into strategic negotiations with Hamas."
'No chance for peace deals'Turning his attention to the recent British willingness to engage in dialogue with Hizbullah, Gilad said: "I see elements in the Western world that are considering dialogue with these groups in an attempt to convince them, but it won't make a difference. It's possible to reach agreements with them, but we should never think this will lead to peace treaties."
Replying to Ynet's question about whether Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's latest speech, where he hinted of willingness to engage in talks with the US, constituted a change in policy, Gilad replied: "Hamas and Hizbullah are open to any kind of dialogue. Legitimacy is very important to them. If the Western world is willing to recognize them, they will of course accept that, and this is what Nasrallah meant. However, they will not change their ways, and Israel will always be a target for elimination in their eyes."
During the evening, Gilad refused to respond to questions regarding the Gilad Shalit negotiations.