Former IDF Chief of Staff Yaalon: Disengagement Empowered Hamas

(Ynet News/Jerusalem Post) Neta Sela - Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza had a huge impact on public opinion in the Palestinian street that credited Hamas with forcing Israel to withdraw, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon told a conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Tuesday. "No doubt, the disengagement caused the reinforcement of Hamas and weakened Mahmoud Abbas." "Instead of making the Palestinians understand they will pay a heavy price for terror, they learned they are better off as terrorists, and that is a serious problem," he said. "In Hamas' victory speech, leader Khaled Mashaal expressed the line of thought and the spirit pervading al-Qaeda, global Jihad, the Islamic movement, and the Iranian regime - all of which direct their struggle against the West and its culture. Israel is the first target for occupation and destruction on the way to conquering the West and establishing a Muslim regime across the world," Yaalon said. Hamas' victory will fuel the ambitions of Islamic groups in Western-friendly Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan to depose the secular regimes, he added. Yaalon warned that al-Qaeda will try to set up terror cells in Gaza now that the IDF has withdrawn. "In any case, the young Palestinian generation, who's brought up on incitement, is more prone to embrace al-Qaeda's ideology." "Is it not clear yet that a society that teaches its children to choose death instead of life is not a peace partner? A society whose narrative is based on denying Israel's right to exist is not open to negotiations but to war," Yaalon said.

2006-02-22 00:00:00

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