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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Former IDF ground commander: IDF role in Gaza surrender reason for unpreparedness in Lebanon

Major-General Yiftah Ron-Tal, former commander of the IDF's ground forces, has called for Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to resign, saying that those who were responsible for this summer's failures in Lebanon - both military and political leaders - must pay a personal price.

More significantly, Ron-Tal made a direct connection between the IDF's role in carrying out last summer's surrender of the Gaza Strip and the failure this summer in Lebanon:
"The IDF, from a readiness standpoint, was well-prepared for this war. That wasn't the problem with this war, the emergency storage units and the training. Our army last June and July was in a sufficient state of fitness to subdue Hizbullah, but the army dedicated most of its time to training for the disengagement, and therefore the training suffered," he said.

"It was not on such a level that it was impossible to fight, but there was a need to remove the rust in the first days of fighting. Did the army have to participate in the disengagement? It wasn't its job to evacuate Jews, which was non-consensual, and it, as the army of the people, was not supposed to do that," Ron-Tal said.
Ron-Tal also said that implementation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's convergence consolidation realignment surrender, expulsion and national suicide plan "would likely endanger Israel's security."

The IDF - predictably - has condemned Ron-Tal's statements for their form rather than addressing their substance.
The IDF condemned Ron-Tal's comments shortly afterwards, saying it was "not appropriate for an officer on paid vacation before his retirement from the IDF to criticize the political echelons of the State of Israel.

"This matter is even worse in light of the fact that Maj.-Gen. Ron-Tal was a member of the general staff and a part of the general processes and decisions, including the disengagement plan," the army said.
In other words, the IDF condemns a man who has already paid the personal price of resigning for effectively saying "we made a mistake." Halutz has summoned Ron-Tal for a meeting to 'clarify' Ron-Tal's statements. They seem pretty clear to me.
Meanwhile, however, NU/NRP faction head MK Uri Ariel said Ron-Tal's comments condemning the IDF's participation in the disengagement reflected the opinion of most senior IDF officers.

"The problem is that they don't stand behind their opinions and say this when the chips are down," he said, and called on all senior IDF officers to reveal how strongly they had opposed the disengagement.
The problem is that anyone who still wants a career in the IDF cannot do that as long as the Olmert-Peretz-Livni administration remains in power.

Lest you think that the IDF or the government has learned anything from the experience, Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz is already planning the next expulsion of Jews from their homes right after the Succoth holiday. Just what the IDF doesn't need to be doing.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz will mostly likely order the evacuation of 12 West Bank outposts after Succot, according to operational details obtained by The Jerusalem Post.

The plan falls in line with statements Peretz made to the Post last week regarding his intentions to evacuate 12 illegal outposts over the next few months, now that the IDF had withdrawn from Lebanon.

"I think it will happen soon," he said. "I agree that the war made it less of a priority, but I intend to deal with this question as the government has decided and the law requires. I ordered the army to prepare an operational plan. We will handle this with the utmost consideration for the residents and without unnecessary conflicts. But if there is no choice, we are prepared to defend the law and implement it. It will happen over the next few months."


The 12 illegal outposts on the evacuation list drawn up by the coordinator of government activities in the territories include the same small illegal hilltop communities that the government had intended to remove before war broke out in Lebanon.

It is assumed that the list includes Maon and Scali farms, Givat Assaf, Ma'aleh Rehavam, Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh, Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ramat Gilad.


According to operational details of the planned evacuations, Central Command will be assigned overall responsibility for the operation together with the Judea and Samaria police, which will carry out the physical evacuation. The IDF will be responsible for securing the perimeter of the outposts to prevent right-wing reinforcements from reaching the area.

The plan is to evacuate three-to-four outposts at a time. "This is a complicated operation that will require a large force and cannot be done at once," said one defense official involved in the plans for the evacuations.

He said the outposts evacuated simultaneously would be in different regions of the West Bank, making it more difficult for reinforcements to arrive at each one.
Maybe the IDF should be training for the next war against Hezbullah and Hamas instead?


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