Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad, Director, Policy and Political-Military Affairs, & Chair, Security Relations with Regional and Strategic Partners, Ministry of Defense, Israel
The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Maj. Gen. (Res.) Gilad reviewed the threats to Israel (Hezbollah, Iran) and noted both successes (Israeli deterrence in Syria, undermining of Palestinian suicide terrorism) and failures (the lack of functioning state in Syria). Gilad noted the need to share intelligence and establish cooperation between counter-terror organizations on a global level.
In the beginning of the speech, Maj. Gen. Gilad stated the objectives of the presentation, including his impressions of the terror threats to Israel and globally, as well as both the bad and good news in fighting terror.
At first, he expressed the threat by Hezbollah on three fronts: terror, political threat, and military threat. Despite the fact that we do not hear about the Hezbollah threat often, the organization is growing stronger. Intelligence services deal with the threat. Gilad assured the general public that Israel takes all threats very seriously. The military threat is perceived as potential, as not yet active, and this is due to the fact that Israel built a very strong deterrence program.
Next, Gilad moved to issues concerning the Middle East region. Special emphasis was put on Syria and Iran. In Gilad's words, “there is no Syria; Syria is only a technical term.” Furthermore, he expressed serious concerns about the use of unconventional weapons, especially chemical weapons. Gilad claimed that “what is good is that they do no attack us, we have a good deterrence strategy.” The Golan Heights, on the Israeli side, remain calm, whereas the Syrian side of the border is controlled by terrorists. Despite being very close to the war zone, Israel’s deterrence remains efficient.
According to Maj. Gen. Gilad, the Islamic State is losing the ability to defend its territory, and much of it is no longer in their hands. They are losing the momentum. For that reason, it is expected that terrorist attacks will increase in frequency and brutality. Gilad therefore expressed the increased need to share intelligence and cooperate between agencies on a global level. To highlight the successes, Gilad gave the examples of Jordan and Egypt, both of which have managed to thwart terrorist plots. He stated that Jordan has a stable government with impressive achievements fighting terrorism.
The central and most serious threat to Israel, according to Gilad, is Iran. Iran has a dangerous regime that supports the violence abroad. From the Iranian threat, the speech moved to issues concerning Middle East politics. The speech ended in a positive manner, highlighting the successes of Israeli intelligence services which successfully undermined many Palestinian suicide attacks.