Speaking at a national security conference at Haifa University, on Tuesday evening, Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz addressed attempts of settlers to resettle in the evacuated northern West Bank illegal settlement of Sa-Nur and presented the dilemmas soldiers face with settlers.
"The army’s job is not policing, that’s what state authorities are tasked with", Halutz said, "Turning a blind eye can lead us to places we don’t want to reach, in other countries they would call it anarchy".
"Last week we had to drive several girls in a military truck, When we removed them from the truck, we discovered they damaged and ripped all the seats", He stated, "They also inscribed the slogan ‘Long live the State of Judea, may the State of Israel be ruined’ on the walls".
"The army will do all it can to combat the phenomenon, but they aren’t policemen" Halutz added, "We have a police and we have law enforcement bodies. Their job is to deal with the phenomenon".
Turning his attention to Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons, Halutz characterized the Islamic republic as "the sole existential threat" today especially after threatening to wipe Israel out.
He claimed that Iran is striving to arm itself with non-conventional weapons, and described its leaders as non-conventional.
"They threaten to erase the State of Israel and are trying to find a weapon that can do that", Halutz said, "Once they possess such arms, the temptation to use it may be too big to resist".
However, Halutz said there is still sufficient time to act against the threat, stressing the international community should be doing so.
"This doesn’t have to be done by the State of Israel, although Israel faces an immediate threat," he concluded.
Referring to the situation in the Palestinian Authority, Halutz said that "in 10 days, after the elections, we will know where the PA is headed".
He said that the democratic process in the Palestinian territories, referring to the upcoming elections, "embody more opportunities than risks".
"There is always the risk that a non-democratic group will take over the system through undemocratic means", Halutz said, "But on the other hand, a democratic process is a restraining process. If a certain group claims responsibility, it is a restraining factor," he said.
Referring to the Israeli army’s budget Halutz slammed "economists who claim that cuts to (the budget) are the solution for all of Israel’s economic maladies."
He said that the defense budget, even if it was reduced in accordance to the drop of "security risks", it can’t be voided since "Israel will always need to be committed to maintaining a military force even if and when peace and serenity prevail in the region".
Halutz concluded that "our strategic situation is better than it ever was in all the power components – the physical, the economic and the social – compared to all the countries surrounding us."