Chief security adviser: If talks fail, Israel risks isolation

Yaakov Amidror warns pressure and boycotts may increase if no progress with Palestinians, says ‘everything must be done’ to stop Iran

Outgoing national security adviser Yaakov Amidror with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a farewell ceremony in Amidror's honor, on November 3, 2013. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)
Outgoing national security adviser Yaakov Amidror with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a farewell ceremony in Amidror's honor, on November 3, 2013. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outgoing national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, said Sunday that should the current US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians fail, Israel’s position in the world could worsen, and international pressure would mount.

At a ceremony marking the end of his tenure at the Prime Minister’s Office, Amidror said “it [is] clear to everyone that handling international pressure depends on the progress of the negotiations, and if the talks fail, it will give everyone interested in boycotting us every reason to do so.”

The outgoing adviser called the EU’s decision in July to issue directives imposing bans on funding to Israeli entities with links to the settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, a “conscious decision.” He warned that Israel must take what he described as a “type of an economic boycott” very seriously.

The next round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians is taking place this week, amid sparring between the two sides ahead of the negotiations and the coinciding visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry is scheduled to arrive Tuesday and will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. Kerry will then meet with Netanyahu on Wednesday, according to Israel Radio. The two are set to discuss recent developments regarding Iran and the peace talks.

Amidror warned that should the US lose power and influence in the region, it would be to Israel’s detriment.

“Everyone who wishes that [President Barack] Obama lose power must take that under consideration. Israel will also lose its power and the two are related.”

Amidror also spoke about the Iranian threat, echoing remarks previously made by Netanyahu over the past few months.

“It is important to remember that Israel has one clear existential danger and everything must be done to remove it; if possible, by negotiations and if it is not possible by negotiations, then in another way. The second thing is, today the Middle East is a place in motion. There have already been many upheavals and many more are to be expected in the future. This dangerous situation, perhaps the most dangerous in the 40 years in which I have been dealing with these issues, requires much caution and much thought,” Amidror said.

“Only maintaining the sanctions along with a credible threat of a strike will persuade Iran to make progress in negotiations with the West,” he added.

Netanyahu thanked Amidror for his service, saying: “The main thing is that, in the end, the thread of our existence depends on us and we will not let it be cut by anyone. The question is — how do we make certain that the most challenged and threatened state on the face of the earth not only continues to survive but continues to defend itself, to build up its strength, to prosper, and to ensure its future. This is our mission. Yaakov Amidror has greatly contributed to the State of Israel.”

The incoming National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity to help the prime minister “at a time when the world around us is in ferment and the State of Israel faces security challenges in all major and significant spheres.”

Cohen is a former deputy director of the Mossad and an Israel Security Prize laureate.

The changeover ceremony was attended Netanyahu, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Mossad Director Tamir Pardo, Shin bet Director Yoram Cohen and Atomic Energy Commission Director Dr. Shaul Horev. US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro was also there to speak and to award Amidror with a US flag that had flown over the US Embassy in Israel.

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