From Ynet News 21/2/06 by Neta Sela ....
Former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon talks about reasons for power shift in the PA, warns against association between Hamas and Iran. "It's impossible to create legitimacy toward Israel's policy, when we are confused and unsure of our just cause," he says
The meeting between Hamas head Khaled Mashaal and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should concern Israel, former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon warned on Tuesday.
Yaalon, who is currently conducting academic research in Washington, spoke at a conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs. In his speech, Yaalon referred to Hamas' win in the recent Palestinian elections and its implications, as well as the strategic threats facing Israel.
According to Yaalon, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza had a huge impact on public opinion in the Palestinian street who credited Hamas with forcing Israel to withdraw and voted for the group as a reward for its attacks against the Jewsih State. "No doubt, the disengagement caused the reinforcement of Hamas and weakened Mahmoud Abbas" he explained.
He referred in detail to the close relations between Hamas and Iran, which were evident in the warm welcome Tehran gave a Hamas delegation on a recent visit.
“Hamas’ victory poses a challenge to those interested in stability in the world and the Middle East, including Israel, the United States, Arabs and Palestinians who favor western democratic values to extremist Islam, Yaalon stated. "In Hamas’ victory speech, leader Khaled Mashaal expressed the line of thought and the spirit pervading al-Qaeda, global Jihad, the Islamic movement and the Iranian regime – all of which direct their struggle against the West and its culture. Israel is the first target for occupation and destruction on the way to conquering the west and establishing a Muslim regime across the world,” Yaalon said.
Iran set to strengthen influence on PA
Yaalon added that Hamas’ victory will fuel the ambitions of Islamic groups in western-friendly Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan to depose the secular regimes.
The former army chief noted that Iran will cash in on strong showing in parliament to gain more influence in the Palestinian Authority and radicalize its attitude towards Israel.
“The meetings between Khaled Mashaal and the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, before and after the elections should keep us awake at night. With or without western financial support, Iran will strengthen its influence on the Palestinian Authority, will back terror attacks against Israel, and will transfer knowledge, technologies and arms,” he said.
...Commenting on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, Yaalon said Israel should seek Washington’s help in pushing the Palestinian Authority to implement reforms and fight terror groups. No concession should be made to the Palestinians so long these conditions are not met.
“Is not clear yet that a society that teaches its children to choose death instead of life is not a peace partner? A society whose narrative is based on denying Israel’s right to exist is not open to negotiations but to war,” Yaalon said.
He warned against misinterpreting Hamas’s softened political discourse into a readiness to abandon its pledge to destroy Israel, saying the Islamic group is ready to make tactical concessions to serve its long term target of “establishing a Palestinian state that extends from the Jordan River to the sea.”