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Recent Remarks by Former IDF Chief Ya'alon

Reader comment on item: Mr. Olmert Visits Washington

Submitted by Ken Mann (United States), May 16, 2006 at 11:20

Former IDF Chief Ya´alon: "Israel´s Leaders Selling Illusions"
By Ezra HaLevi

Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon has broken his relative silence, decrying the entire notion of a Palestinian state, and urging Israel to be strong rather than appease the global Jihad.

The longtime warrior drew a comparison between the events leading up to the Holocaust and the present, comparing Ehud Olmert to Neville Chamberlain. "We look back to what the West experienced before World War Two," Ya'alon said. "There was denial of reality, denial of threat. The attitude was, 'Let's leave it to next year, to the next generation.' We don't need Chamberlains - we need Churchills. We are flooded with lies, manipulated by Al Qaeda, but, most prominently, by the Palestinians."

Ya'alon spoke at Manhattan's Lincoln Square Synagogue last Monday, registering harsh criticism of Israel's leadership for offering "illusions" to the Israeli people. Ya'alon was Chief of Staff up until just before the implementation of Ariel Sharon's Disengagement Plan, of which his criticism was well-known. His tenure was not extended and he was replaced with the current COS, Dan Halutz.

The retired general criticized the notion of withdrawing from parts of Judea and Samaria, in addition to the building of the Partition Wall, which he believes is an illusion in terms of security. "The best defense is a good offense, not a fence," he said. "The best way to deal with terrorists is to arrest them or kill them in their beds. The IDF has the intelligence capability to intercept terrorists. They use their civilians as human shields, knowing our sensitivities to killing civilians – but we do have the capability to intercept them in real time. Without dealing with the roots, we can cut down the weeds – to deal with the roots would be to force them to reform their education and culture. I am not sure we will succeed, but we should be under no pressure to make any concessions until this change."

The former Chief of Staff said that not only did the Disengagement propel the Hamas terror group to a landslide victory in PA elections earlier this year, but "what we are doing is leaving a legacy for the next generation that will [have to] deal with Palestinians who believe that terrorism pays, that Israel cuts and runs under pressure."

He said that at this point, when Kassam missiles are already falling regularly on Israeli towns, "we must stop getting used to these constant missile attacks as if they are rain. We can't tolerate this missile threat from Gaza or continued terrorism… We must step up military actions in Gaza despite the problems of not being able to have laser-like accuracy against the terrorists there."

Ya'alon doesn't see negotiations as a reality any time in the future. "I do not see any prospect for peace and reconciliation on the Palestinian side," he said. "I needed no sophisticated intelligence to reach this conclusion; I only had to look at their textbooks, posters and so on. We should not be surprised - but we ignored it. Without this kind of change, not just in Israel but the West, all Western powers will have to fight them. They believe they can defeat the West and Israel first. We need a wake-up call here and across the West. Under no circumstances should we surrender to terror. As long as they see our appeasement policy, they will continue."

Ya'alon takes issue with the assumption that creating a Palestinian State is anything but dangerous for the Jewish state: "From the dawn of Zionism until this day, the source of all terrorist attacks has been the refusal of the Arab world to recognize Israel's existence. Until this changes, we will remain the target of violent terrorist activity. The '67 borders are not a solution to rocket attacks, suicide bombs or more conventional forms of warfare. The two-state solution has failed and to my mind is now irrelevant. Even before the Hamas victory, a two-state solution was a mistaken fantasy - now it's even more irrelevant."

Ya'alon was optimistic, however, saying what Israel needs most is a change of outlook. The man who is credited with pushing through the policy of targeting terrorists and killing them, no matter how unpopular next day's headlines made the Jewish state, said he believed Israelis "must consolidate our Jewish Zionist narrative. Without believing in our case, there is no way to convince someone else. We need moral clarity and clear strategy – or else there is no way to deal with the problem and find a solution. Otherwise, there is no chance for one now over the horizon, meaning in my generation. Yet we prefer to be confused, to ignore reality. This is the case with Israel; this is the case with the West. Iran sees us withdrawing from Gaza, Hamas is elected, they see US trouble in Iraq and because they do not pay price for financing, supporting and encouraging terrorism, they continue.

"The war has become super-conventional. Syrian scud missiles, Iranian Shihab missiles, Iran pursuing nuclear capabilities – these are the threats today ... The deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians – we suffered more than 1,000 fatalities in the last five years, more than 70% civilians because the other side believes that Israeli society is the weakest link in the Israeli security chain… Now it is more and more a religious conflict – from their side, not ours … but like in the past, Hamas says, again, no room for Israel, instead there must be a Palestinian Islamic state. They say what they mean and mean what they say… And Israel is only the first target of their planned Islamic empire."

The speech was organized by the Zionist Organization of America. ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, following the lecture, that, "General Ya'alon brings a very sobering message, people were keen to hear his moral clarity and strategic wisdom that states clearly that the Oslo path of the past 13 years has been a terrible mistake. We will not begin succeed in seeking peace until we first win the war."

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Title Commenter Date Thread
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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