Days after returning from the United States, former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
participated in the International Institute for Counter Terrorism's annual conference, held at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.
Ashkenazi recounted his experience abroad, saying that the three months he had spent in the United States were a formative experience in his life.
Reviewing the latest regional developments, Ashkenazi addressed the looming Palestinian statehood bid
at the United States.
"There is no such thing as status quo," he said, adding that Israel must initiate and make decisions vis-à-vis its own borders.
'Arab revolutions pose new opportunities' (Photo: Roee Idan)
Ashkenzi noted that while negotiations are preferred to a unilateral declaration, he does not believe that the Palestinians want to resort to terrorism, because they understand that it will come at a high cost.
Today, the former IDF chief noted, the Palestinians open a window and see a different street and a different economy then what was there a decade ago, during the intifada.
The system of cooperation that has developed between the IDF and the Palestinians in the past five years is an asset that must be preserved, he added.
Ashkenzai noted that the 10th anniversary of the Sept.11 attacks is a good time to look at the current situation from a wider perspective. He noted that nowadays the world is more aware of the phenomenon of terrorism, and is better organized and more determined to battle it.
The former IDF chief explained that states are more inclined to share information with one another because politicians understand the terror threat and decided to confront it.
"The idea of using terror, which I believe has failed, has been replaced by nother ideas: Democracy, freedom, civil rights," he said.
Addressing the revolutions in the Arab world, Ashkenzi said that they should not be called "the Arab spring." These are struggles, and they are not over; no one is immune from it – not even the royal family in Jordan,
On a more positive note, the former chief of staff said the situation also presented opportunities, such as a change of regime in Syria,
which would serve as a great blow to Iran
Ashkenazi also commented on the high tensions between Jerusalem and Ankara, saying that "even the Turks have their red lines." He called on the political echelons to do everything in order to prevent further deterioration in the relationship.