Former intelligence chief: Israeli leadership risks missing historic opportunity
With Iran currently without a nuclear weapon, peace with Egypt and Jordan, a significantly diminished Syrian military and converging interests with the Arab world, Amos Yadlin wants the Israeli government to take advantage of the situation while it lasts.
However, he added the lack of strategy and leadership on the part of Israel’s political echelon puts the country at risk of squandering a ‘historic opportunity.'
“Israel is very strong, even with all the threats around. There is no nuclear Iran, we have peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Syrian military is gone, there is a lot of identical convergence of interests with the Arab world, the president of the US that basically I think his heart is with us,” said Amos Yadlin, who also served as commander of the IDF Military Colleges and the National Defense College and is now the Executive Director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
“We have an opportunity here that may not have existed since the founding of the state, to go forward—with the Arabs, with the Americans—to advance peace with the Palestinians according to Israeli parameters. But our government lacks a coherent strategy and leadership.
"It is time to take the initiative and capitalize on the good conditions we have at the moment. They will not continue to exist forever; there will be a Democratic president in the US that may not be so supportive of Israel. So what keeps me awake at night: that we are not taking advantage of this historical opportunity,” Yadlin said.
Speaking to reporters at a briefing in Jerusalem, Yadlin also addressed Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, which effectively is the ruling power in that country today, saying Iran’s involvement in the war in Syria has forced Tehran to cut funding to the terror group.
He said that Hezbollah’s participation in the war has also exacted a steep price with the Shi’ite terror group losing more than 1700 killed in action, hundreds more wounded.
In addition, Hezbollah is facing domestic pressure not to provoke Israel out of fear of its response. But Yadlin warned that the threat from Israel’s northern neighbor is far stronger than it was a decade ago, and that another round of fighting would look radically different than the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
“Today they have 100,000 rockets aimed at every part of Israel. Their weapons have bigger warheads, carry bigger payloads, and are longer range and more accurate than the ones they fired at us in 2006.”
Yadlin said the deterrence created by the 2006 Second Lebanon War has lasted 11 years so far, but he added that one mistake could inadvertently force regional leaders to throw caution to the wind.
“Remember in 2015, when Israel attacked a convoy headed for Hezbollah? Well, Hezbollah felt the attack was a violation of an unwritten agreement between Israel and Hezbollah that Israel can attack at will in Syria, but won’t attack over the border in Lebanon.
"So Nasrallah fired seven missiles at an Israeli convoy—most of the Israelis managed to get out of the way, but two soldiers were killed. But there could easily have been 30 or 40 soldiers killed, which is the kind of thing that could easily lead to all-out war,” he warned.
Article reprinted with permission from TPS .