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by Rhonda Spivak, November 18, 2010

[Editor's Note:  Counter-Terrorism Expert Amos Giora was in Winnipeg last year and gave a talk which is just as relevant today as it was a year ago, and is being reprinted now. He will be returning to speak her on November 29, 2010, at 7:30, Monday November 29th .  His topic this time is "LawFare: Whose Rights Should Be Protected  -see related advertisement on right side bar of home page]
Amos Guiora, an Israeli expert in operational counterterrorism , told an audience at the Canadian Mennonite University last year that most Israelis today would say that they would “want disengagement from the West Bank,” but they do not see it as “possible” under the present circumstances.
Guiora visit here was organized by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and sponsored by a number of organizations.
Guiora said he spent “5 years in intensive negotiations with the Palestinians” and was responsible “for on the ground implementation of the Oslo Accords in Gaza.”
He said that before former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized the building of  Israel’s security fence , “Sharon went to [ P.A. President Mahmoud ] Abbas” and said that Israel could conduct “ more targeted killings” of terrorists or “‘build the fence.” According to Guiora,  when Abbas  was faced with these two options he told Sharon he “preferred” that Israel build the fence.
“The [security] fence is effective not only for Israel but for the Palestinian Authority. It enables them [the PA] to come to Israel and say we’ve minimized Palestinian terrorism into Israel,” said Guiora, who is  a  former I.D.F. military prosecutor in the West Bank Military Court,   a former Judge in the Gaza Strip Military Court, and a former legal advisor  to the Gaza Strip Military Commander.
Guiora also said that although it has been “kept a secret,” there have been some Israeli Arabs that served in the I.D.F., “not in desk jobs, but in combat.”
“Sharon’s plan had been to release [Fatah’s jailed leader] Marwan Barghouti,” who has been convicted of  the murder of Israeli civilians, Guiora, revealed.
Guiora, who is currently a professor of law at the University of Utah, added that Sharon was willing to release Barghouti  from an Israeli prison because he felt that any P.A. leader would have to be “a ruthless tough leader,” capable of controlling the West Bank. In Guiora’s view, Abbas whom he has met, is not tough enough for the position.  
Guiora said that “The State of Israel ain’t going anywhere.” He said  Israel would “under no circumstances” agree to a “one-state solution” where Jews would become a minority under the rule of  a Palestinian majority in the land that is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river.
Guiora added that the United States or others will not “impose on Israel a one- state solution,” and said that “a one-state solution’ would be “nothing more than a final solution all over again.”
Guiora, said that most Israelis understand that settlements in the West Bank “must be  stopped”, but they are afraid that if Israel left the West Bank, the Palestinians would fire missiles into central Israel, including “at airplanes” landing at Ben-Gurion airport
According to Guiora, the Palestinian Authority leadership understands that if it wants a state in the West Bank, it needs to conduct itself “diametrically differently than Hamas.” 
Guiora said that although he had been a “long time supporter of a two state solution ” who had voted for Ehud Olmert in 2006, he no longer thought that it was likely a two state solution was on the horizon now, especially given Hamas control of Gaza. “Rather than build a liberal society”, after Israel disengaged from the Gaza strip, “all Hamas has done is lobby 600 missiles into Israel in the last three years,” said Guiora. He added “Palestinians are masters of their own victimization.”
In considering the  extensive infrastructure Hamas has built and the level of support Hamas enjoys in Gaza, Guiora said one needs to “think long and hard” about who were really “the victims” of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.  He said that Hamas’s building of infrastructure and sending of missiles “required enormous support among the Gazan population.”
Regarding Egypt, Guiora said that once President Mubarak is no longer the Egyptian leader, his son “Jamal” will likely take over, but it is an open question “whether the [Egyptian] army will be loyal to him [Jamal Mubarak], and whether he will be as ruthless [as his father towards Islamic extremism.]”
Guiora, whose recent books include "Fundamentals of Counterterrorism," and "Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism,” said  Russia’s support of Iran is “extremely concerning.” As he said, “Does Putin not realize that what can be aimed one way [towards Israel] can also be aimed the other way [towards Russia]?
He also said that “Iranian threats are getting stronger everyday” and “we in Israel believe everything they [the Iranian government officials] say.” Guiora was unsure, however, whether Israel would decide to strike Iran. He added that he is also “losing sleep” over the fact that Pakistan has “100 nuclear warheads” and in his view “the regime isn’t stable.” 
Regarding humanitarian aid to Gaza, Guiora said that unfortunately, he thought that the money for aid “is going to the pockets of Hamas and will be used to build tunnels” and smuggle weapons.
 “If you track Palestinian leadership over the years, the idea of responsibility and accountability has evaded them from day one,” he noted.
As to whether Palestinians have a “partner” to negotiate a two-state solution, Guiora said the Israeli election results showed “how conflicted we are.” He believed that if Israel ever decided to disengage in the future, Jewish settlers would likely not agree to do so peacefully. “But, if the State decided to go forward [and disengage from the West Bank]-even at the price of violence-it will go forward.”
In Guiora’s view, Jewish settlers “have been extremely problematic” and when Olmert was elected “by people like me’ it was because they understood that the “occupation” and the “idea of protecting the settlers” was not good “for Israel’s soul.”
But, he said, today, three years later, after seeing what Hamas has done after Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, “most of us wouldn’t vote for disengagement.”
Guiora added that ,  “If there were a Palestinian state, it would be bifurcated [between the West Bank and Gaza].


Professor Giora's upcoming lectures in Winnipeg are made possible by the generous support of the  Combined Jewish Appeal, canada-Israel committee, Hillel Wpg, Jewsih national fund, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, The David Project, Hasbara Fellowship, Birthright Next, Herzlia Adas-Yeshurun Synagogue.


Professor Guiora writes and lectures extensively on the legal and global aspects of counterterrorism, terror financing, international law and morality in armed conflict. He has written and lectured on religion and terrorism, domestic terror courts, self defense, geo-politics and international law. Guiora has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on handling terrorism detainees, and before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security on the effectiveness, accountability, and resilience in homeland security.  

As an expert commentator, Professor Guiora is frequently interviewed by and quoted in the media, including CNN, the Washington Post, PBS, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the BBC, the Associated Press, the Jerusalem Post, Al-Jazerrah TV, the Bloomberg Report, C-Span, the Christian Science Monitor, Fox TV, the New York Daily News, and NPR.
When analyzing the broad, geo-political risks and threats that we face, Professor Guiora will present lawfare: the deliberate misusage of otherwise accepted laws, terms and concepts. He will talk about countering the long-term implications of the Goldstone Report; delegitimizing terrorism and violations of human rights like “human shields", children suicide bombers and targeting innocent civilians. In addition, Guiora will provide tools for effective outreach to traditional and non-traditional media. Most importantly, Professor Guiora will re-define international law to impose obligations on NGO’s and other organizations that use “lawfare”. Professor Guiora will discuss how to minimize the immunity otherwise granted to religious extremists.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.