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Friday, September 01, 2006

Yaalon: Olmert, Peretz and Halutz don't need an inquiry to resign

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe "Boogie" Yaalon said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz don't need a commission of inquiry to tell them to resign: they should do it on their own. I would add Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni to Yaalon's list, but otherwise agree with him.

Responding to charges from Olmert's associates blaming his polices as IDF chief for the war, Ya'alon told The Jerusalem Post, in his first interview with an Israeli media outlet since his return from the US last week, that until disengagement, Hizbullah had restrained itself, but that withdrawing unilaterally from Gaza had encouraged it to attack.
Yaalon was effectively fired as IDF Chief of Staff by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for opposing the unilateral surrender of the Gaza Strip to terrorists, and the expulsion of its Jews.

Upon taking over as chief of General Staff in 2002, Ya'alon said he believed that Hizbullah was in the midst of undergoing a process of restraining itself. Every Hizbullah provocation, he said, was met by a fierce IDF response. The world, he said, was also beginning to recognize Hizbullah as a terror group, and Israel was succeeding against Hizbullah both diplomatically and militarily. But then came disengagement.

"The disengagement was portrayed as a victory for terrorism, and it was a reward for Hizbullah and the Palestinians," said Ya'alon, a vocal critic of withdrawal.

Calling Israel's war against Hizbullah the "world's war," he said that the international community's approach of appeasement "encourages terror against the world."

"I am worried by the world's behavior," he said. "The West is stronger than Islamic fundamentalism, but the West's lack of determination worries me."

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for a cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah, was another act of appeasement, Ya'alon said.

"The world agrees that Lebanon must have sovereignty and that Hizbullah must be disarmed. Most of Lebanon is in favor," he said. "But the world put out a resolution that helped Hizbullah with a cease-fire, and the rest is just declarative... the disarmament of Hizbullah should have been possible to achieve even without a war."

Iran and Syria, he said, had to be held accountable for the war. He said that Hizbullah was their proxy, and the world was letting Iran and Syria get away without paying a price.

"We have to handle this at a diplomatic level," he said. "Iran uses proxies, and Syria plays the role of facilitator, and the world is letting them get away with it. We need a diplomatic effort to make sure the world holds them responsible."

If Syria and Iran didn't pay a price, he said, it would put into question Israel's achievements in the war.

"The West is being portrayed as lacking determination, and that image is hurting us," he claimed. "We lived for a decade under the assumption that we were about to obtain peace and quiet. We need to be woken up."
YNet notes that Yaalon also granted an interview to the Arab al-Hura network, in which he slammed the government for its kid-glove treatment of Syria:

Yaalon dedicated a special criticism to the silk gloves used by Israel to deal with Damascus: "Assad gave them the 220 millimeter and 302 millimeter rockets, what are known as Khaibar, striking Haifa and Afula. And we in such a situation are calming Assad instead of threatening him or even striking him? It's a good question."


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