Gadi Eizenkot IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
WASHINGTON – Gadi Eizenkot, former IDF Chief of Staff, warned Wednesday of the consequences of a possible collapse of security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and said it could lead to “clashes every day.”
Eizenkot, who is currently a visiting IDF fellow at the Washington Institute think tank, made his first public remarks since he left the IDF in January.
When asked how the security relationship between Israel and the PA survives, and whether there is a scenario in which it won’t survive, Eizenkot responded: “Without security coordination, we would have clashes every day in several places. I think it is very important. It is, first, a Palestinian interest [but also an] Israeli interest.”
“I was the Judaea and Samaria commander in 2003 during the terrible days of the [second] Intifada. Without coordination and cooperation [there are] a lot of frictions.
“Abu Mazen understands exactly what the situation with no cooperation would be,” he added.
Eizenkot said that while a comprehensive plan addressing all the disagreements between Israelis and Palestinians remains elusive, options exist for the short-term.
“We need to create win-win steps for both sides; to build trust, to stabilize the situation, to strengthen the coordination between the military and the Palestinian apparatus,” he said.
Speaking about the situation in Syria, Eizenkot said that it is imperative to get Russia and the US on the same page.
“It is very difficult for me to see progress in Syria, to see stability, without cooperation between the US and Russia. This is the only way to remove the Iranians and to achieve stability,” he said.
The former chief of staff also said that three years ago, Israel realized Iran is in a competition with Russia over Syria.
“The Russians sees Qasem Soleimani as a counterpart to fight ISIS, but not as a friend in Syria in the day after [ISIS],” he said.
Eizenkot addressed the nuclear agreement with Iran and said that while there is no argument about the Iranian threat, “[the nuclear agreement] allowed us to take sources from one mission to other missions and to bring more achievements in the Lebanese arena, the Syrian arena, and the Palestinian arena, and maybe this window is closed right now.”
However, he made it clear that he supports Trump’s administration current approach to Iran.
“The American decision is a clear message,” he said. “It is very important to support these steps. I think that without sanctions, we will see the Iranians trying to achieve nuclear capability. The question is not if, but when.”
“We see the results,” he continued. “It is very effective. This year, Hezbollah got only $600 million from Iran. Three years ago, the budget was $1 billion.”
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