In interview with Arabic daily: Outgoing military chief says Israel can return Golan Heights to Syria
Israel can return the occupied Golan Heights to Syria in the framework of a peace deal and still be able to defend its northern border, outgoing Israeli Chief-of-Staff Moshe Ya'alon told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
In a special interview with the Arabic-language paper, Ya'alon said Israel could defend itself even with the modified border, but stressed the scenario could only materialize if a peace deal is struck with a “serious” Syrian leadership.
In addition, the military chief slammed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and said he should have ordered the arrest of the Islamic Jihad leader after the group claimed responsibly for the last large-scale suicide bombing, at a nightclub in Tel Aviv.
“We feel Abu-Mazen (Abbas) is very hesitant and we don’t see determination or serious progress on his part,” Ya'alon remarked. “Matters are moving forward in a deliberate and insufficient manner, while groups are using the situation to boost their strength.”
Hamas activists continue to produce rockets and smuggle weapons into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Israeli army chief warned, adding the Palestinian Authority should have initiated reforms immediately instead of waiting four months.
“They should have clarified to the Hamas and others they would not accept this road,” Ya'alon said. “I don’t know if there’s a point to allow them to participate in elections before they turn into a political party.”
Overall, Ya'alon said, “Many years will pass until the wounds heal and (Israeli-Palestinian) feelings of animosity dissipate.”
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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