Israeli security experts Nimrod Novik and Rolly Gueron spoke about the two-state solution, Iran, and the prospective unified Palestinian government at Jewish Community Relations Council's Oct. 27 meeting. The event was co-hosted by Israel Policy Forum and Commanders for Israel's Security (CIS).
Novik, a former adviser to Shimon Peres, and Gueron, a former division chief of Mossad, are both Executive Committee Members on CIS' board.
CIS is composed of 270 retired Israeli generals, which amounts to 80 percent of "all available retired generals," according to Novik. The organization, founded in Oct. 2014, is a non-partisan movement of former officials from the IDF, Mossad, Israel Security Agency and police that promotes a "security first" approach to the two-state solution.
"In order to get support for the two-state solution, somebody has to show them why it's going to be safe," Novik said. "Who can better do that those who served the country in security for the better part of their life, who were responsible for security in the air, on land and the sea?"
CIS' objectives and recommendations include reducing friction between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, upgrading Israel's security, and making it clear in the international community that Israel is committed to a two-state solution.
"People are worried about their security," Novik said. "Under the name 'Security First,' commanders have created a plan. There's plenty of room for an independent Israeli initative. We drop the argument about whether [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] is a partner for peace. What can we do on our own?"
Gueron stressed the nonpartisan strategy utilized by Commanders for Israel's Security.
"We aren't ideologues. We are very pragmatic," Gueron said. "In our movement, there are people on the right and left. I've reached the understanding that there is no other way. We must reduce the friction with the Palestinians to create a better atmosphere for future generations to see if they can find a better settlement between ourselves and the Palestinians."
Gueron and Novik also addressed audience concerns about the Iran Deal and the recent plan for a unity government between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
"The strategic environment has changed," Novik said. "Circumstances are more conducive for this to mature, but the hurdles are still there. I wouldn't put my last dollar on either outcome."