Farkash: 'Peace more likely with Syria than PA'

Retired MI chief also says Gaza op caused "terrible damage" to Israel's image.

aharon zeevi farkash 248.88 (photo credit: IDF)
aharon zeevi farkash 248.88
(photo credit: IDF)
Israel has greater chances of signing a peace treaty with Syria than with the Palestinians, former Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. [res.] Aharon Ze'evi Farkash said Wednesday. Speaking to hundreds of top IDF brass and scientists who attended 'Security and the War on Terror: the Scientific Challenge,' a conference sponsored by the Technion in Haifa's Center for Security Science and Technology, Farkash stressed that "there is a deep internal divide in Israel regarding the Golan Heights and the people must make a decision." Syria demands the Golan Heights in return for a treaty with Israel. The retired MI chief noted that due to the divisions within the Palestinians, it was less likely that Israel would be able to reach a peace agreement with them. "I say this in spite of the fact that Fatah and Hamas are holding talks today in Cairo." He went on to say that Operation Cast Lead caused "terrible damage" to Israel's image in the world, and noted that this was detrimental to Israeli efforts to rally the world against Iran's nuclear ambitions. "Iran does not view Israel as its No. 1 nuclear target, but Israel, in its actions, pushes towards becoming Iran's primary target," Farkash said. "Israel needs to be more modest." Pakistan, according to Farkash, poses a more immediate threat. "Pakistan has nukes and it exports terror," he said. On other regional issues, Farkash said that he expected the northern front to be calm at least until June, when Lebanon holds elections. "[Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah is focused on Lebanon now," he said. Regarding Turkey, Farkash explained that the country abandoned its traditional policy of not interfering in Middle East politics - a policy initiated by Turkish national visionary Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - partly because of "Israel's request that Turkey mediate its crisis [with Syria]."