Former Security Heads: Resume Talks or Risk Violence

Group headed by ex-head of Civil Administration in West Bank cautions of clear dangers if negotiations are abandoned.

Amos Harel
Amos Harel
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Palestinian youth protesting in Hebron during Prisoners' Day, April 17, 2014.
Palestinian youth protesting in Hebron during Prisoners' Day, April 17, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Amos Harel
Amos Harel

Former high-ranking officials from both the Israeli security establishment and the Palestinian Authority have recommended that Israel and the PA do everything in their power to continue the negotiations, and have warned that an end to talks could lead to violence.

The former officials, who have held a series of meetings, passed their recommendations along to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

The letter of recommendations was signed by the group’s leader, Brig. Gen. Gadi Zohar (former head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank), and other former officers. The meetings were attended by retired senior Israeli officers, who served in key positions in the West Bank until recently, as well as former Palestinian generals.

The talks were held before the American-mediated negotiations began to deteriorate, and before the recent reconciliation deal between Hamas and the PA was announced.

Participants on both sides of these unofficial, “back-channel” talks attempted to identify steps that could lead to escalation in the West Bank, as well as steps that could “contain” the “negative reactions and prevent violence as much as possible.” In their letter to the prime minister, it was written that the group members sought to “highlight the existing danger of escalation should the recommendations not be implemented. In our view, the most appropriate move at this point is to ensure continuation of real negotiations with the Palestinians.”

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