Mossad former head: Cairo's pro-Gaza protests herald shifting attitude towards Israel

Saleh Naami , Monday 11 Apr 2011

Efraim Halevy, former head of Israeli intelligence,links recent pro-Gaza protests and the broader Arab pro-democracy movements to shifts in Israel's strategic environment

Former Mossad director Efraim Halevy said that protests organised in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo to demonstrate against Israeli air raids on Gaza undeniably signal a change in Israel’s strategic environment.

In an article published Monday in Israel’s daily Yediot Ahronot, Halevy said that these protests and the new position taken by the current rulers of Egypt are proof that Israel’s freedom of action in Gaza is now restrained.

Halevy made clear that the transformations taking place in the Arab world – particularly in Egypt – must prompt Israel to change its policies on Gaza, expanding them beyond the ‘security solutions’ used to confront challenges posed by the Palestinian resistance.

The most important conclusion reached by Israel in the wake of the Arab revolutions, said Halevy, is that it cannot deal with the West Bank and Gaza as two distinct geographical and political entities. Furthermore, Israel must create a political plan which could convince Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel.

Halevy explained that practical experience has proven the failure of depending on military might in facing Palestinian resistance, especially considering the fact that the Gaza resistance has never been deterred by any Israeli military operation targeting it.

Halevy pointed out that Israel’s dilemma with reference to Gaza lies in its inability to form a clear policy towards it, citing a WikiLeaks cable which shows that General Yoav Galant, commander of Operation Cast Lead in 2008, was not aware of the nature of the political goal Israel was trying to achieve from the campaign.

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