'ME revolutions not a positive development for Israel'

Speaking at Bar-Ilan U., ex-IDF Chief of Staff-designate Yoav Galant says Gaza rocket fire challenges "our very presence on this strip of land."

May 3, 2011 21:59
2 minute read.
Yoav Galant speaks at Bar-Ilan University, Tues.

galant at bar ilan university. (photo credit: Benjamin Spier)


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The ongoing revolutions in the Middle East – particularly in Egypt – do not have any positive short or long-term potential for Israel’s security and diplomatic concerns, former IDF Chief of Staff designate Yoav Galant said on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, in all of the places where revolutions are taking place, a better future for the state of Israel is not expected in the short term or the medium term. This is because of the simple fact that there isn’t a single liberal leader waiting in Canada, Europe or the United States to take the reins and carry out reforms in a Western fashion.

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“In the best case, we will see a similar leader who leans on his military force. In the less positive case, we’ll see a coalition come to power that includes radical Islamists; and the worst case, we will see a government led by Islamic extremists.”

Galant, the former head of the southern command, also said that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had improved their rocket firing capabilities and that firing rockets “isn’t only an act of terror, it is a challenge to our very existence in this strip of land.”

Galant’s comments were his first public statements since Defense Minister Ehud Barak nixed his appointment as the IDF Chief of Staff in early February, following Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s ruling that there were legal and ethical questions surrounding his acquisition of land surrounding his expansive house on Moshav Amikam. Galant did not comment about the affair.

Galant made his speech during a seminar held at the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Affairs at Bar-Ilan University, where professors and experts debated the issues discussed in Israel vs. Iran: The Shadow War, a new book written by The Jerusalem Post’s military correspondent Yaakov Katz, and military historian Yoaz Hendel.

The book focuses largely on the decisions that face Israel in dealing with the Iranian threat – including a military strike that could lead to an all-out regional war, or the new strategic considerations that would go into effect with accepting a nuclear Iran.

Galant spoke about the crucial importance that he sees in the battlefield deployment of missiles, saying “the entry of the battlefield missile is a warfare development of the same scope as the horse, the bow and arrow and the tank.”

Galant also spoke about the US special forces targeted killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, saying “bin Laden is a symbol of the evil and terror that goes against the liberalism presented by Israel and the United States. I bless the special forces of the United States, who I worked with in the past, and who I have known for years on this great accomplishment.”

Galant said that “Israel has in the past liquidated terrorists and terror leaders in many operations, a number of which I took part in. Those who say that these operations don’t have an impact are mistaken. The liquidation of terror leaders prevents terror attacks and influences t h e organizations.”

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, also spoke at the event saying that “the world needs to present a credible military threat to deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear weapons program,” mentioning the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 that pushed Iran to freeze the enrichment of Uranium.

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