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Former NSC head Amidror: South Africa and Turkey not important for Israel – Arab-Israeli Conflict

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator shouts during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator shouts during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, near the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Turkey May 15, 2018.
(photo credit: OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS)

Relations with South Africa and Turkey are not that important to Israel, so if they “want their ambassadors back home, they are most welcome,” former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said on Tuesday.

Amidror, in a conference call put together by the Israel Project, was referring to the decision of both those states to recall their ambassadors following Monday’s bloody events in the Gaza Strip.

Amidror said that he does not see the Palestinians gaining anything by marching on the fence in Gaza, and that Israel is determined to prevent Hamas from destroying the existing security barrier and the one Israel is building on the Gaza border to prevent any infiltration – either underground or overland – from the coastal strip.

Asked whether Israel is losing anything as a result of the events in Gaza, Amidror – a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies – replied, “Yes, I think many people in the world think that this is like a demonstration in Brussels against the central bank, or something like that. The number of people who have been killed is much, much higher than any other place, and people do not take into consideration that it is a cover for a terror organization to carry out terrorist actions and destroy the barrier that is supposed to stop the underground tunnels.

“For people who do not understand the difference between demonstrations against the government in a sovereign state, and demonstrations that basically are attempts of a terror organization to destroy a military barrier, what can we do?” he asked. “They don’t understand the difference, and Israel is losing points in the international community because of what is happening in Gaza.”

The exception is Washington, which issued strong support on Monday of Israel’s right to defend itself. Amidror said he believes Israel “briefed the Americans, and others, and the Americans are more open to understand Israel’s need to defend itself than the Europeans; we know it, and we have to live with it.”

Amidror dismissed criticism that Israel could use less lethal means to disperse the rioting along the border, saying this is an example of people sitting in “air-conditioned offices” dispersing advice on “how to face thousands and thousands of Palestinians, when you don’t know how many of them are Hamas terrorists, and how many of them are innocent civilians who came only because they got some money from Hamas, or even just Palestinians who are so angry that they are willing to come and sacrifice their lives.

“There is no way to identify who is who, and this is why Hamas is using those civilians – women and children – to cover its terrorist action and its attempt to destroy the barrier we are building,” he said.

As to whether he knows of any efforts to calm the situation by the Egyptians or any other player in the region, Amidror said that Egypt has the ability to speak with both sides.

“They don’t like the situation where so many Palestinians might be killed, and they have very good relations with us,” he said. “They don’t want to be [torn] between the street – which supports Hamas – and their understanding that Israel is important for the survival of Egypt in the future.”

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