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Security tactics will fuel terror, says Israel's army chief

by Yakov Daley Friday, Oct. 31, 2003 at 6:12 PM

The chief of Israel's defence forces has sparked a row with the Government by telling journalists that harsh Israeli security policies were provoking despair among Palestinians and would lead to more terrorism. "Poor Ariel" he is so beset. Couldn't happen to a "nicer" guy.

Security tactics will fuel terror, says Israel's army chief

By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Jerusalem

October 31, 2003



The chief of Israel's defence forces has sparked a row with the Government by telling journalists that harsh Israeli security policies were provoking despair among Palestinians and would lead to more terrorism.

In an off-the-record briefing to three Israeli security correspondents on Tuesday, Lieutenant-General Moshe Yaalon reportedly said that present harsh restrictions on the movement of Arab civilians in the West Bank were fuelling despair.

Nor did they differentiate, he said, between cities where militants were active and others - like Bethlehem and Jericho - which did not originate terrorist attacks.

Quoting him next morning as a "senior IDF official", the newspaper Yedioth Ahronot reported: "There is no hope, no expectations for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, nor in Bethlehem and Jericho . . . In our tactical decisions, we are operating contrary to our strategic interest."

The row intensified later in the day when Israeli radio and television revealed that the anonymous "senior IDF official" was in fact General Yaalon, normally regarded as a hardliner.

Yesterday several newspapers reported that the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and Defence Minister, Shaul Mofaz - both former generals - were furious that General Yaalon was briefing against the Government. There were some reports - not confirmed by the Government or Mr Sharon's office - that General Yaalon could be asked to resign.

In his briefing to the journalists from Ma'ariv, Ha'aretz and Yedioth Ahronot, General Yaalon also criticised the Government's plans for a security fence in the West Bank.

General Yaalon said the Government's insistence that the barrier should loop deep inside the West Bank to take in Jewish settlements would add greatly to its length and therefore to its cost - both in money and the number of troops needed to defend it.

It would also cause great hardship for the Palestinian population, especially those who would be trapped between the fence and Israel proper.

The chief of staff also criticised Israel's political leadership for failing to make sufficient concessions to the Palestinians during the short-lived rule of the former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned last month after the collapse of the road map peace process launched by the US President, George Bush, in June.

General Yaalon's attack on the core of Israel's security policy is particularly damaging for Mr Sharon and General Mofaz in light of General Yaalon's own hawkish reputation.

Mr Sharon was facing further personal problems yesterday as he prepared to be interviewed by Israeli investigators over two separate allegations that he benefited from illegal payments and bribes amounting to millions of dollars before he became Prime Minister.



This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/30/1067233324125.html

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