Over 150 high-ranking officers push for diplomatic effort
Ramat Efal | December 22, 2014
Commanders for Israel’s Security, a new non-partisan movement representing more than 150 retired high-ranking security officials from the IDF Mossad, Shin-Beit and National Police, was launched at an inaugural conference yesterday. The new movement calls upon the Israeli public to encourage Israel’s political leadership to embark on a regional effort as an appropriate response to the Arab Peace Initiative, and to pursue a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict based on the principle of “two state for two peoples.”
More than 200 participants attended the launch event where detailed discussions on regional developments were presented and opportunities for diplomatic initiatives by the Israeli government within a regional framework were highlighted. Speakers included Brig. General (Ret.) Udi Dekel, INSS; Maj. General (Ret.) Hagai Shalom; Kobi Huberman, Israel Peace Initiative; Professor Elie Podeh, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Yarom Ariav, former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Finance, who presented a study of the economic benefits of a regional arrangement involving peace with the Palestinians.
“This is a national emergency situation,” said Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amnon Reshef, founder of Commanders for Israel’s Security. “The upcoming elections are crucial to the fate and future of Israel. It is up to us to alert the public to the security cross-road; to inform the public discourse; and to encourage politicians to commit to post-election launch of an Israeli initiative aimed at enhancing regional security while resolving our conflict with the Palestinians”. Referring to the collective muscle of his new movement, Reshef added:
“With more than 4500 years of security experience present in this room, no one should presume to educate us on what is good for the security of our country. Those who claim that regional security-political arrangements and peace with the Palestinians will undermine security are flat wrong. We know that peace agreements with the Palestinians and our Arab neighbors are critical to the security of Israel and that Israel’s security forces have the power to secure borders as shall be agreed upon through negotiations and endorsed by the Israeli public.”
The Commanders for Israel’s Security grew out of a widely publicized letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu initiated by Reshef and signed by 103 security veterans from the rank of Brigadier General and Major General, as well as former directors of Mossad and former Israel National Police Commissioners.
The letter called upon Netanyahu to respond to the Arab Peace Initiative by launching an Israeli initiative, and promised the Prime Minister the support of the signatories should he do so. The letter sparked the immediate interest of Israeli politicians, foreign diplomats and even Jordanian, Egyptian and other regional security officials. Since then, another 50 former generals have joined the movement, with more signing up each day.
The success of the launch attests to the growing interest among security and political circles, and the public at large, to embrace this important effort as it works to impact the election conversation, to change the national agenda and to raise critical awareness among the general public.