The threat of a binational state is far greater than the threat of a nuclear Iran, opposition chief Shaul Mofaz said Monday in a lecture at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
Speaking at the annual conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Mofaz said, “Iran is a global threat but the Palestinian issue is only Israel’s to solve.”
Mofaz lambasted the government’s inaction on the Palestinian front, comparing it to the general attitude before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when many people said that it was “better to have Sharm [el-Sheikh, the Sinai city] with no peace than peace with no Sharm.”
On the topic of Iran, the former chief of staff said its attempt to lead the Shiite world “has been somewhat set back,” but there can be no doubt about its goal — a military nuclear program.
“No one should make light of its threat to reach Israel and bring about its destruction, but this is not just a Jewish and/or an Israeli issue,” said Mofaz.
He went on to reiterate his belief that a resort to force against Iran is the last option and must be used only “when the sword is right against our necks. Only when they break out toward the bomb.”
Mofaz said there were two questions to be asked: Is there legitimacy for an attack, and can an Israeli strike make a strategic difference in Iran’s nuclear program? He said the lead had to come from the US since — as US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said — Israeli action could only “delay an Iranian bomb by a year or a year and a half,” and “it is not in our power to make a strategic change” in Iran. The US, though, was capable of making “fundamental changes” in Iran’s nuclear capacity.
Mofaz slammed Israel’s current political leadership for damaging relations with the US government. Security ties with Israel’s best ally were good, but relations were “not good enough on the leadership level” and needed to be strengthened and protected, he said.
Former Shin Bet security agency chief Yaakov Perry said that Israel’s “sit and do nothing policy,” along with ad hoc steps and the casting of the Palestinian issue “into the corner,” means that “Israel is galloping toward a binational state that could spell the destruction of the Zionist vision.”
Perry called for a regional solution and said the lack of one would be “disastrous.”
On Iran, Perry said, “The political echelon must not only hear but also listen to the professional echelon and respect its autonomy.” But he acknowledged that the IDF “does not choose its missions” and said he was sure that the current chief of staff would follow the example of an earlier one, Dan Halutz, when he shut Gaza’s doors in the 2005 disengagement.
Former IDF Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin encouraged calm on the Iranian issue, saying that “the fact that they have material for a bomb does not mean that it’s a bomb or that it can fly to Israel.”