Brig.-Gen. Ya'acov Amidror, Mordechai's military aide, formerly headed the research division of military intelligence. The following are excerpts from his interview in "Yediot Ahronot", published on 24 April, 1998:
I hear this claim [that there is no need for strategic depth due to missiles] all the time, and I am shocked by the stupidity. The existence of missiles does not void the conventional threat. The threat on Israel is the threat of a combined attack, conventional and missile. In such a situation the missiles will cause one thing: extension of the time which the IDF will require to be prepared to defend, because of damage and chaos on the home front. The only way to provide the growing need for time is territory. Therefore, no professional would dare to claim that in the missile age there is not need for territory - the opposite is the case.
I don't think it is true. The great power in the territories is truly Arafat and his organizations. That's how we thought in the past and that what we think today.
Regarding Hamas, it is clear that Arafat can overcome them, and it is clear that until now he hasn't made the historical decision to do it. Why not? The pessimists in intelligence say that he plans to use the Hamas in the future. The optimists say that it is not tactically easy for him now.
Syria is investing a lot of energy in the development of missiles with chemical warheads, and at the same time buys new anti-tank missiles and improves its tanks. I think that the emotional attitude in the country towards Assad is not completely rational. They assign to him a greatness which is not justified. He has pluses and minuses, and anyone who isn't convinced should see how he blew the agreement with the previous government, an agreement which he will never, apparently, ever get.
If someone decides to go with some vision then it Is much harder to present him the reality. Don't bother him with facts...A leader with vision is the hardest situation for an intelligence officer.
The Oslo Agreements were negotiated without any professional, and it had holes and errors which would have been prevented if someone who understands that Middle East was involved in it. Maybe then there wouldn't have been agreements for a set-up which might be appropriate for the European business world but not the Middle East. Or maybe there wouldn't have been an agreement at all.
It was clear from the start that the staged process of the Oslo Agreements would work against us and that we should sit on the final arrangements at a stage that the other side has much to win and lose, and not when it barely has anything to win and we have given them almost everything.
Baloney. As long as the commander doesn't order them to violate the Sabbath when there is no security need or to eat non-kosher food, there is no dilemma. Religious soldiers and officers know that beyond these matters, the rabbi has no special standing. Yaari and Chazzan have more influence on the graduates of "Hashomer Hatzair" [a left wing youth organization] than the rabbis have influence on the kippa wearers. That some rabbi says to withdraw or not withdraw from territories doesn't give it any rabbinical standing.
Dr. Aaron Lerner is the Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis).