June 01, 2007

Components of Domestic Security in the Age of Global Jihadism

From Components of Domestic Security in the Age of Global Jihadism, by Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter:

During the last 7-10 years we have had to deal with a new player in the Middle East, Iran - the biggest terror state in the world today. Khaled Mashaal, the external leader of Hamas, started to increase the level of coordination and cooperation with Iran in 2001 and today he is a frequent flyer from Damascus to Tehran. Mashaal is trying to implement the Iranian strategy toward Israel in Gaza, in the same way as Hassan Nasrallah is implementing the Iranian strategy in Lebanon.

It is well understood by Mahmoud Abbas that if the West Bank is going to continue to serve as a base for terror attacks against Israel, Israel is not going to ease the pressure. Israel is not going to bleed for Abbas. We are not going to count our fatalities and say we are waiting until Abbas builds up his own security forces.

In 2005 Israel disengaged totally from the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, the Palestinians launched 1,400 rockets at Israel. What did they achieve with those rockets? Tough pressure by the Quartet countries and many other countries, a rejection by the United Nations, and tough responses by the State of Israel whenever we felt it was necessary.

I have been meeting and talking with Palestinians for 31 years. As I see it, the probability of setting up a peaceful situation between Israel and the PA is much stronger than the probability that we are going to get into another round of violence with the PA.

The Palestinians know they have no chance to build themselves as a nation without a peace agreement with Israel. However, one barrier to an agreement is the way that Hamas has been influenced by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for the past six years. The external leadership of Hamas in Damascus is much more extremist than the leadership in Gaza.

I am optimistic because I believe that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have some common interests with the State of Israel. Our partners on the Palestinian side know very well our limits and our red lines. They know that Israel is ready to go a long way towards them but not the whole way.