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Interaction with Israeli Delegation

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  • May 05, 2011
    Round Table

    The 3-member delegation from the Israeli Ministry of Defence visited IDSA to interact with IDSA scholars and discuss recent developments in the West Asian region, and other issues of mutual interest. Mr. Sisodia framed the agenda for the discussion to include Osama Bin Laden’s death on May 2, the ‘Arab Spring’ brought about by the recent uprisings in Arab countries, and India’s engagement with Israel. Following are the responses by the delegation head, Amos Gilad, to queries posed by IDSA scholars:

    • ‘Spring’ might not be the right word to describe the region surrounding Israel, and this period may be short-lived taking into account the rising death toll among protesters in countries like Syria.
    • Any regime change/developments in Egypt would have a great impact on Israel, with Egypt being a leader in the Middle East and the Arab World. Israel maintains daily communications with the Egyptians on matters relating to security. Peace with Egypt would mean increased security for Israel.
    • There has been no tradition of democracy in the Middle East. With the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak following the protests there, the Muslim Brotherhood may be emerging to capture power in that country; this would prove to be a threat to Israel with the Muslim Brotherhood being cousins of the Hamas in Gaza; these groups would impose Sharia law if in power.
    • The signing of a unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah on May 4 is an unfortunate development, and cannot be implemented. Hamas is a terror organization, and has killed many innocent civilians through rocket attacks into Israel. Israel cannot foresee the U.S. Congress supporting the Hamas government in any form.
    • Israel cannot tolerate nuclear and hostile states like Iran. Israel will never tolerate nuclear war; it is necessary to differentiate between intentions and capabilities.
    • Osama Bin Laden will be remembered as successful in his mission, though he may have died too late given that the poison of his ideology has spread. It is important to expose the Pakistani connection in this story.
    • What are the reasons for China’s support for Pakistan? The reason is their fear of Muslims, and China’s dislike for India - to support Pakistan is to harass India.
    • The peace process, as defined by the Israeli Prime Minister, is based on the two-state solution. The Palestinian unity agreement is a bad news for Israel. Following this, if Hamas launches missiles against Israel, Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) will be held responsible as the head of the unity government. This government would never recognize Israel and we would never have peace, hence how can Israel negotiate with them? Israel will never accept terror and will continue to fight against it. Israel has supported Fatah as it could, but terror and peace cannot live together.
    • Israel’s relation with China is based on a strategic decision not to maintain security relations with Pakistan. Israel has excellent security relations with China through engaging with them on mutual visits, cultural relations, and dialogues on strategic climate and nuclear proliferation. No technological cooperation takes place between the two countries, taking into account Israel’s friendship with India, and any threat that may emanate from China’s expansion. Israel maintains no relations with Taiwan.
    • Israel is also not worried about India’s relations with the GCC countries; this is understandable to Israel considering the large number of Indians who reside in those countries.

    Gilad thanked IDSA for the hospitality shown, and expressed his eagerness to return to hear views and opinions for continued engagement. The Chair concluded the interaction thanking the delegation for their interest in IDSA’s work and mutual engagement.

    (Report prepared by Princy Marin George, RA, IDSA)