Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz.
(photo credit: INSS)
No diplomatic accord can completely ensure Israel's security, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday during his remarks at the INSS annual security conference.
Steinitz said previous Israeli withdrawals from major Palestinian cities in the West Bank and from the Gaza Strip have taught Israel that no security arrangement can guarantee Israeli citizens' safety.
After leaving the major Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria, Palestinian incitement has increased and the second intifada brought to the loss of hundreds of Israeli lives.
Since Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, some 11,400 rockets were fired from the Strip into Israel and numerous terror attacks originated from the enclave, including the 2006 kidnapping of Gilad Schalit.
"We must not delude ourselves," he said. "No one, not us nor our American friends, can assure us that any security arrangements can stop what happened after [these withdrawals] from happening again in Neblus."
The situation in the Middle East is ever changing and nebulous, and no one can predict how the region would look like five years from now, Steinitz said, which Israel can only strive to minimize the threat, but not to completely eliminate it.
He did not express much optimism in the peace process, saying this is more of a diplomatic process that while it is important, it is unlikely to produce a peace accord.
"Unfortunately we are not seeing any indication that there's real willingness on the other side - primarily the Palestinian Authority - for peace," he said.
"[PA President Mahmmud] Abbas may not be a proponent of violence and terror like his predecessor [Yasser] Arafat, but the level of incitement and anti-Semitism in the PA has reached new heights," he added.
"The sub-text Palestinian children receive at Abbas' schools and on PA television is very clear, the State of Israel must be annihilated sooner or later, and the Jews must be annihilated sooner or later," Steinitz noted.
He noted that after the Israeli government decided to launch an international PR campaign against the incitement in the PA, both the Palestinians and the US have asked to re-form an Israeli-American "Anti-Incitement Committee."
Steinitz said he objects the reformation of such a committee, unless Abbas stops "preaching [against Israel] on a daily basis and sending out these messages."
"There used to be such a committee, and it didn't change anything," he added.