|Gaza City - "The world's larger concentration camp."|
By Elad Benari
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Friday that Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza is not yet complete, since Israel continues to supply Gazans with necessities such as water and electricity.
“I think that we theoretically disengaged from Gaza but we didn’t really disengage,” he said during a gathering in Tel Aviv. “The world considers us as being responsible for what happens there. We provide them electricity with which they manufacture the rockets they fire at us. We provide them with water and energy and they use that against us. If there’s disengagement, I want to complete that disengagement. Let them desalinate their own water, produce their own energy, let them be connected to Egypt. Then the situation will be clearer.
“Our policy is to against Gaza is deterrence,” said Yaalon. “Targeted killing for them is a significant event. It’s not a stable situation, so the best defense is to attack. Extracting a price from them is what creates the deterrence. If there was no such deterrent we would receive rockets every day.”
Addressing the situation in Egypt, he said, “Egypt will remain unstable for a long time. Economically, Egyptians will have 87 million mouths to feed. In terms of security, the only border that does not threaten Egyptians is the one with Israel, but it's a very problematic security situation as the main problem for us is the Sinai. The Sinai Peninsula has become a haven for terrorism.
“There is an exploitation of non-governance which began already in the days of Mubarak,” explained Yaalon. “An infrastructure of terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, supported by Iran and Palestinians for whom it is convenient to leave Gaza can be established in the Sinai. Sinai is Egyptian and we have a peace treaty with Egypt. We do not carry out targeted killings in the Sinai, so the terrorists have much greater freedom. We demand that the Egyptian regime show determination and sovereignty, and this will be tested.”
Yaalon warned against Egypt’s attempts to change parts of the treaty it signed with Israel, saying that “for us this is not an option. If they want to put in a military force, we’ll talk about it. But it would be a very bad precedent if we start opening agreements. President Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but his statements have been cautious. He does not mention Israel, but on the other hand is forced to work under constraints. Although he would very much like to open the peace agreement, at the end of the day he is forced to say that he is committed to it. Because if that does not happen, American money would stop flowing into Egypt. That’s why an agreement that isn’t backed by interests is not worth the paper on which it was signed.”
Yaalon also spoke about the peace process with the Palestinian Authority and said, “[PA Chairman] Abbas does not say he wants two states for two peoples and denies the existence of the Jewish people. He also does not say that this agreement that will bring about the end of the conflict and an end to his demands. The argument with Abbas is about the very existence of Israel.
“When Condoleezza Rice heard [former Prime Minister] Olmert's proposal [to Abbas] she was surprised by its generosity, but Abbas refused immediately,” said Yaalon, adding, “I was not surprised by his reaction, because for him to agree to a solution of two states for two peoples is disastrous. He needs the conflict sustained over time. As well, as long as the PA educates young people to wear explosive belts and blow us up, there will be no peace or coexistence. Now the people of Israel know that we tried and it does not work. Abbas has no interest in reaching an agreement with us, but he will blame us. For the past twenty years, the worst terrorist attacks took place during periods of concessions. That's why we need to stand firm.”