(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel is monitoring Palestinian power struggles surrounding the question of who will succeed PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and views such struggles as a potential source of future instability, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Tuesday, at a meeting with reporters in Tel Aviv.
Asked by The Jerusalem Post about his assessment regarding events that could unfold, Ya’alon acknowledged that several figures, including imprisoned Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, appear to be preparing succession bids.
“It’s totally clear that not only Fatah [figures] desires [to take over leadership]. Hamas desires this too,” Ya’alon said.
Hamas and Fatah could attempt a reconciliation ahead of elections, the defense minister said.
The issue of succession could potentially destabilize the Palestinian arena, he added. “We are taking this into account. We are not getting involved in Palestinian politics. We have bitter past experience,” he stated.
Earlier, Ya’alon said Palestinians see the pointlessness in the wave of lone terrorism, which is one of the reasons why attacks have dropped in March and April.
“There is no value in these attacks,” Ya’alon said. “They did not achieve anything on the ground. There were not many casualties. They didn’t create an effect. The Arab world is not covering them as it did the suicide attacks [of the Second Intifada],” he added.
He paid tribute to Israel’s ability to thwart organized terrorism by organizations that tried to exploit recent wave of violence.
Israel has also improved in its ability to thwart unorganized, lone attackers, Ya’alon said. “We have arrested some of these attackers in their beds, and others, while they were on the way,” he said.
The Temple Mount could, as in past years, be used as a source of potential future trouble ahead of the Passover holiday, Ya’alon warned.
“We are making preparations to prevent that from happening,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ya’alon announced the appointment of Maj.-Gen. (res.) Udi Adam as the new Defense Ministry director-general, following the retirement of Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel.
Adam, 58, served in the IDF for 30 years in a range of combat and command roles, and held the command of a conscripted armored brigade, a conscripted division brigade.
He was also head of the Technology and Logistics Branch, and a former OC Northern Command. Later, he served as the head of the Negev Nuclear research Center. From July 2013, he was chairman of Israel Military Industries.
“The Defense Ministry faces many significant challenges in a range of issues, from force build up, to realizing the Gideon multi-year program, to the assistance program agreement with the US,” Ya’alon said. “I have reached the conclusion that Udi Adam is the right man at this time to successfully lead on these issues.”