Ya'alon: Violence Will End Only if Militants Are Disarmed

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said Friday that Israelis must not be be fooled by the lull in terror attacks, saying the current round of violence would only end once the Palestinian Authority disarmed militant groups.

Ya'alon was speaking to a forum of businesspeople from Haifa and the north.

"The [militant] organizations want the period of calm, but see it as a time to regroup and rearm before the fighting is resumed, without waiving their strategic goals," he said. "Until I see terror groups disarmed and [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] fulfilling his commitments to having only one political entity and law, I cannot say this war is behind us.

"We must not be intoxicated by the relative calm. We must deal with that which lies ahead and can break out soon if the [terror] infrastructure is not dealt with."

When asked whether he had plans to pursue a political career, Ya'alon said he supported a long cooling-off period before military staff entered politics. "If I am perceived as a threat to politicians, the army could suffer the consequences, and hence a cooling-off period is needed. What I may do after I am released - I don't know. But I certainly won't pursue a political career starting tomorrow."

When asked about the disengagement plan, Ya'alon told those present that it was vital to prepare the soldiers mentally and militarily, with much sensitivity. "We will embrace and evacuate. It will not be simple. It is clear to us that we, as an army, must be prepared. We must embrace and execute the political echelon's orders."

Highlighting the fragility of the promise by Palestinian militants of a conditional halt to attacks in Israel, the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees said Friday it would not abide by the agreement.

Spokesman Mohamed Abdelal, said the group feels slighted because the PA did not invite it to participate in the Cairo talks.

"Saturday, March 19, is the end of the honeymoon we have given Israel. We reject completely the result of the Cairo conference since we did not participate. This is a clear intent by the Egyptians and the Palestinian Authority to ignore us," Abdelal said.