Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo asserted on Tuesday that the Israeli occupation and the conflict with the Palestinians are the only existential threat facing Israel.
“Israel has chosen not to choose, hoping the conflict will resolve itself – perhaps the Arabs will disappear, maybe some cosmic miracle will happen,” Pardo told a conference at the Netanya Academic College. “One day we will become a binational state because it will be impossible to untie the Gordian knot between the two peoples. That is not the way to decide.”
Pardo stated: “Israel has one existential threat. It is a ticking time bomb. We chose to stick our head in the sand, creating a variety of external threats. An almost identical number of Jews and Muslims reside between the sea and the Jordan. The non-Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria live under occupation. This is Israel's definition, not mine. The law in this territory is as we have made it, a military justice system that is subject to the authority of the Israel Defense Forces.”
He said that despite the full withdrawal from Gaza, responsibility for the territory remains in Israel’s hands. “Israel is responsible for the humanitarian situation, and this is the place with the biggest problem in the world today,” he said.
Pardo added: “Israel must deal with the demographic reality and [decide] which state we want to be. Life with alternative facts harbors a disaster for the Zionist vision. The key to saving the state requires brave leadership.”
Current Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, however, told the conference earlier that it is Iran that poses Israel's foremost threat. Iran did not give up its nuclear ambitions, and it is trying to influence and shape the Middle East, said Cohen.
"As long as the Ayatollah regime exists, Iran will be the primary challenge for the security establishment, with or without the nuclear deal," he asserted.
IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, meanwhile, said that the "primary challenge" for the Israeli army is Hezbollah, which operates both in Lebanon and in Syria.