Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Sunday of the serious consequences of an immediate Israeli army withdrawal from the occupied West Bank. “It would lead, probably, to the collapse of the rule of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank,” he told Israel’s Walla news website. “It would also affect freedom of movement and the work of the army.”
In the event of such an exit scenario, added Ya’alon, “Hamas will hold its head high, as happened in Gaza.” The Israeli minister stressed that his country will not rely on any foreign entity for its security.
Army leaders oppose any withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, on the border with Jordan, as part of a compromise agreement with the Palestinians, commented Haaretz. The Israeli newspaper said that Ya’alon is leading a campaign within the government to prevent any “concession” over the issue of the army remaining in designated “security zones” in the West Bank.
Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper pointed out earlier that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is exploiting the warning about possible Hamas control over the West Bank as a bargaining tool to fulfil Israel’s “security requirements”.
Israel wants to retain bases for the army along the border with Jordan as well as a security presence at the border crossings between a future state of Palestine and Jordan.