Yaalon sets out the governments policies and thinking

Both Yaalon and Gantz have come out this week in support of Israel’s conduct both during and after Operation Protective Edge.Israel has decided that

1.) the Palestinians will only get the autonomy they have now even under negotiations for a two-state solution.
2.) Israel will facilitate greater mobility and economic progress for both Gaza and Judea and Samaria and
3.) Israel will support the Free Syrian Army in the Golan on condition that they keep the extremists out.
4.) Maintain the defacto freeze of construction east of greenline. This may be breached next year  to prevent the government from falling.

Ted Belman

By Amos Harel, Haaretz

Ask Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon about the external challenges that Israel confronts and his reply will always be reasoned and sober.

Ya’alon will try to place the severity of the threat in the proper perspective and even to play it down. If his strong pessimism is translated into a tough, hawkish stance regarding the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, when it comes to exercising military force the defense minister is a very cautious man.

That approach was evident throughout last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip and was reflected in a conversation this week with Haaretz. His implied message is that that’s how it has always been and probably will remain: Israel, according to Ya’alon, is stuck in a hostile neighborhood and must maneuver within it, exercising toughness as well as caution. There is no reason to get upset.

After seven weeks of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, the most recent security incidents actually took place in the north – the downing of a Syrian warplane that crossed the border on the Golan Heights and the wounding of two IDF soldiers when bombs laid by Hezbollah on Har Dov exploded.

Ya’alon admits that “it’s possible that Hezbollah has accumulated more self-confidence than we thought.” He says the organization is trying to maintain a new balance of deterrence on both the Lebanese and the Syrian borders, by reacting with attacks against Israeli territory for every military move that it attributes to Israel in Lebanon.

“There is a reversal here,” Ya’alon says. “Once, the Syrian regime used to activate Hezbollah to strike at us in south Lebanon, without our being able to blame the regime for direct responsibility. Now, Hezbollah is operating the same way on the Golan Heights.” Israel attributes several of the incidents of the past year in the Golan – involving bombs and rockets – to the militias connected to the Bashar Assad regime in Syria but operating under the inspiration of Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Ya’alon confirms that Hezbollah’s most recent attack was ambitious, but he rejects the possibility that Israeli intelligence is playing down the intentions of the organization, which seems to have been prepared to risk an escalation had it succeeded in its plan to kill a large number of soldiers by detonating the bombs.

He says that Hezbollah is sending its fighters to Iraq and Syria against its will, under orders from Iran. The Shi’ite organization is also mired in an internal war against extremist Sunni factions in the Lebanese Bekaa. It has additional problems, aside from the tension with Israel. “The incidents with us don’t prove that Hezbollah is planning an escalation,” Ya’alon says. “We reacted forcefully. Let Hezbollah decide whether it’s worth its while to escalate.”

The battles in Lebanon erupted as a consequence of the civil war in the country that used to be called Syria. President Bashar Assad, says Ya’alon, now controls only 25 percent of the area of the country.

“It’s not Syria, its Alawistan [referring to Assad’s ruling Alawite sect] – the coastal cities in the north of the country and a corridor connecting them up to Damascus,” Ya’alon says. “The rebels are already doing away with his control on the border with us on the Golan. The east of the country is controlled by [Islamic State], and in the northeast the Kurds have autonomy.”

The entry into the Golan of extremist Sunni organizations identified with Al-Qaida, such as Jabhat al Nusra, worries him, but here, too, he has the impression that at present the situation is under control.

“Of course there’s instability there,” Ya’alon says. “But the area adjacent to the border is under the control of more moderate militias, such as the Free Syrian Army. It’s no secret that they benefit from the humanitarian assistance that we provide to the residents of the villages in the area: medical care in our hospitals, food for infants, equipment and blankets in the winter. That happens on condition that they don’t allow the more extremist organizations to reach the border.”

What did Hezbollah and the other organizations learn from the war in Gaza?

“First of all, that the ‘spider web’ issue is no longer valid,” Ya’alon says, referring to a speech delivered by Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah in May 2000 in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, two days after the IDF withdrew from South Lebanon. Nasrallah claimed at the time that Israeli society “is weaker than a spider web.” The defense minister says that the speech summed up the 1990s, but things have changed. “Before Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and followed by the campaigns in Gaza and finally Operation Protective Edge, there’s a different attitude and different determination.”

He isn’t happy about the fact that the battle lasted 50 days. But Ya’alon says the Arabs learned that Israel, as opposed to some of their theories, is also capable of withstanding attrition. Its spirit doesn’t break and its economy doesn’t crash. It defends itself and exacts a heavy price from its rivals.

At a conference in Cairo early this week, donor countries promised $5.5 billion to rehabilitate Gaza. Ya’alon is not convinced that the indirect contacts with Hamas will end with a more detailed cease-fire agreement. As far as Israel is considered, the principles already formulated in the limited agreement at the end of August are sufficient, in addition to the agreement it reached with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority regarding the entry of goods and money to the Gaza Strip under tight international supervision.

In his opinion the heart of the matter is the diplomatic-security coordination with Egypt, which already enables significant limits on Hamas’s efforts to rearm. “In the past year not a single rocket has been transferred from Sinai to Gaza because Egypt has started to operate effectively,” he says. “Both we and Egypt stopped the transfers of cement to the Strip, long before the fighting, because we realized that the cement is used for digging Hamas’s tunnels.”

The new arrangements, he says, “will allow the Gazans to live. The transfer of money and the means for rehabilitation are already beginning. But a seaport, an airport – those are pipedreams. We can discuss it in Cairo, but even Hamas understands that these things are not on our agenda or that of the PA or Egypt.”

Lazy and galloping horses

But during the war in Gaza he was more concerned about the problems at home – mainly what he sees as a lack of responsibility on the part of cabinet members. “A certain minister (Bennett) received a report from the field and said that there was a brigade (Givati) that had developed a method of dealing with the tunnels, but we weren’t letting them do so,” Ya’alon says.

“I suggest that ministers take into account broader considerations such as the dialogue with the U.S. administration, the United Nations. After all, we didn’t start this operation as we did in the Second Lebanon War. We knew what we wanted to achieve. There are considerations that go beyond the fact that you have a force that is ready for action.

“There’s no shortage of threats. When you establish deterrence, you can’t attack everything just because the enemy has tactical capability. There are 100,000 Hezbollah rockets directed at us. So are we going into Lebanon now to deal with them?” (It’s possible that this last example does not do much of a service to Ya’alon; after the Second Lebanon War people came to him, as former chief of staff, with complaints about his claim that we should let the rockets rust.)

Bennett claimed that his direct connection with field commanders afforded him another point of view, as a cabinet member, of the crucial decisions and helped him to spur the defense minister and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz into action. Ya’alon rejected this explanation out of hand: “That’s unacceptable. Is it legitimate for a politician to form direct ties with army officers, and based on that try to manipulate the chief of staff in the cabinet and say that he’s a lazy horse compared to the galloping horses, the officers in the field?

“I received no request from him to visit the area during the fighting. Other ministers asked to visit the units and did so, with my permission. A politician sits there and brags that officers phone him. That’s anarchy, not democracy. I was sorry to see that the former chief of the Shin Bet security service (Yuval Diskin) supports his position. How would he feel if an MK were to speak with his coordinators and make manipulative use of what he heard from them? That’s why the prime minister and I came out against that.”

Ya’alon refuses to share the credit with Bennett for approving the operation against the tunnels. “Who’s responsible for the army’s fighting spirit? The chief of staff or some political party?” he asks.

“These are political considerations. I have been in [security] cabinets in the past 20 years, since being appointed the head of Military Intelligence. In the previous government the group of eight of which I was a member discussed issues of major importance. There were serious, sometimes stormy debates, but nothing left that forum. Even if you voted against a decision, you are responsible as a member of the forum not to come out against it in public, during wartime.”

Under the aegis of the holidays the prime minister solved the budget crises, at least temporarily, when he decided on an increase of about 14 billion shekels in the defense budget in the course of a year and a half, in the wake of the war in Gaza.

Ya’alon is still not satisfied. “I’m conducting a battle with the treasury, which thinks that we don’t need money for defense,” he says. “The prime minister promised during the discussion that the decision about the budget increase for defense does not include extra-budgetary issues, such as transferring the IDF to the Negev and the activity of the Mine Clearance Authority. That’s why I voted in favor.

“Now the treasury comes and claims: It’s all inclusive. I assume that there will be additional debates in the course of the coming year. At least they (the treasury) have stopped attacking us about pensions because they understood that it’s unacceptable. These are employees’ prerogatives. The chief of staff and I said: We agree to let you take away from high earners, and first of all from us. We also said that we would be first, but not alone. Can they carry out such a step? The High Court of Justice, the Histadrut labor federation, won’t let us.”

At the end of the summer Ya’alon promised that “after the holidays” he would deal with the appointment of the next chief of staff, who is supposed to succeed Gantz in mid-February. The date is almost here and Ya’alon says he will keep his word.

After Sukkot he will begin to consult with former defense ministers and chiefs of staff and will invite several candidates. The almost-certain candidate for the job, although Ya’alon is not willing to discuss it at all, is the present deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

The defense minister promised “a transparent, full process, with all the required consultations. We will carry out all the required preliminary examinations and bring the best candidate to the government around November.” or Egypt.”

October 16, 2014 | 157 Comments »

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7 Comments / 157 Comments

  1. @ Ted Belman:

    “You are out of control. Stop having these rebuttals. Don’t tell me how important they are. Stop it. Comment on the article or someone’s take on it only.”

    I’m sorry, Ted, but you are wrong. What’s TRULY ‘out of control’ here is not me.

    And I do NOT suggest the rebuttals are ‘important’ — only that they are inescapable when I am assaulted. I can certainly understand your distaste for the exchanges connected with such rebuttals; however, the logical point at which to avoid them is at the point of attack, not the response prompted BY it.

    There would be no need for the latter without the former.

    Case in point:
    This thread began [see pg 1] with Robin’s discussion of his longhorn project (which was, of course, not pertinent the article on Ya’alon’s discussion of policy). There were a number of responses (of varying sorts) to Robin — including your own — but no talk of the article.

    My own response asked Robin for more information and noted that he seemed discouraged. I also questioned what appears to me (accurately or otherwise) like an attempt by some on this site (judging by their tone) to put a damper on his enthusiasm for his project.

    That questioning, in turn, put me under withering assault for having the stones to offer such a challenge. I responded, and the usual suspects joined the fray, and upped the ante. That’s the genesis of these exchanges to date.

    As for limiting one’s commenting to the article and others’ impressions of it — and with all due respect — have you actually READ the thread?

    I know you’ve got your hands full w/ running the operation, etc, and may not have the kind of time needed to read every post in every thread. But if you have read THIS thread, Ted, then you know that as of this writing, there have been 157 posts to the thread

    — and not a single one of them has been directly germane to the article.

    Yet only a small proportion of those posts have actually been mine. (Count them.) Still, it is YoursTruly who is singled out for the admonition to stick to the subject.

    Something may indeed be “out of control” around here.

    — But it isn’t I.

  2. @ yamit82:

    “Davida: A self described Jewess apostate heretic to the Jewish people, who accepted the cross. She couldn’t stand the heat in the Kitchen and couldn’t defend her adopted beliefs.”

    “Her ability to stand up to debate had NOTHING to do with her leaving. She was subjected to personal abuse HEAPED on her merely because of her position.”

    “Wrong her political positions were quite in line with most reading and commenting here…. She just couldn’t contro; her jeezus references in her comments and each time she was apprised of the fact that it’s frowned upon here. “

    It wasn’t just frowned on. It was spat upon. I don’t care what you think of her position on ANYTHING (or, for that matter, what she thought of your position on anything), you could’ve exercised some patience with her.

    “When told to decist by Ted she did for a short time and then injectred jeeezus through innuendos and back door inferences in her quotes.”

    Obviously she was compulsive about it — or can you really not see that?

    “I caught some and let her have it with both barrels and she left…. I do claim with pride some responsibility for that .”

    But that doesn’t constitute ‘disparagement’ of a woman, right?

    “Except for you and your broken heart no one seemed to be sorry or miss her absence. “

    No broken heart; and whether or not somebody is missed is supremely irrelevant. You pressured another woman out.

    “I enjoyed having you correct her beliefs in jeeezus and I don’t think she took your criticism well and even resented it as most do.”

    A lot of people who initially resent my ‘criticism’ end up asking Ted to forward me their emails. As I’ve already shown you, she wasn’t the first. Curious state of affairs, criticism.

    “Religious fanaticism, arrogance and pomposity are not endearing qualities for most normal people, only masochists would willingly endure your constant corrections and abridgements of everything they write and think.”

    So if the Almighty himself gives you constant correction and you endure it, that makes you a ‘masochist’??? Was Job a masochist? Was Eliyahu a masochist?

    “Bottom line here is that every one of those women was pressured to leave — by PresentCompany and/or his associates — that’s why they’re gone. And those four were just a few from off the top of my head. The list doesn’t end with them. . . .”

    “nobody pressured any of them to leave… “

    Too late for you to make that assertion. Your own words in the above-referenced post belie the claim.

    “You a prime example that there is no pressure…..”

    Were you SOBER when you wrote that? I know it was scarcely midday your time, but you just can’t be seriously making such a remark. What I AM is evidence that you can endure in the FACE of pressure.

    “You are a liar and a misreader of fact and truth…”

    Identify the ‘lie.’

    “.you project your own corrupted understanding or people and their nature onto other….It’s you who seems to be paranoid and schizophrenic none other…….”

    That statement is surely true of ONE of us. . . .only.

    “In christianity do the mentally ill go to hell??”

    The mentally ill are already in hell.

    And most people — the overwhelming majority of people ( regardless of which faith community they affiliate with) — are, in one way or another, and to one degree or another, mentally ill.

  3. @ yamit82:

    “Suffiyeh Don’t remember, must I’m sure have been another christian missionary predator.”

    “Hardly. She was Muslim, very articulate — often well-informed (from within her own P-O-V), but quite doctrinaire. Dunno what country she came from. She came under considerable pressure to leave, mostly from guys (yes, guys) who couldn’t hold their mud against her & would become discourteous toward her when she blew them away in debate. I suspect that Ted was urged to remove her, but whether he WAS (and if so, whether he DID) is sheer speculation on my part. In any event, she left under pressure.”

    “Now I remember. I was not involved in those comments and came back at the tail end of her appearance on Israpundit and I don’t think I wrote more than one comment that did not directly name her or was addressed to her either. She lasted what a week 2 weeks???”

    Think it was at least a month, maybe 6 weeks.

    “I don’t think you were much involved with her either I can’t recall any of you comments.”

    I’d been offline for at least a few weeks. When I returned, she was already clearly involved in regular exchanges with several people, and more than holding her own. I mistook her for a guy at first (as did most everybody onsite), but I caught on eventually. It hadn’t occurred to me that Suffiya was actually an Anglo-Islamic spelling of Sophia.

    We were on opposite sides of the barricades, but our exchanges were courteous & often productive. She was quite self-possessed, but I had to call a couple guys to task for rudeness which rather obviously had to do with the fact that she was Muslim.

    “A Self described Jewish apostate aka APIKOROS”

    Hunh??? — When have I self-described as ‘apostate’? — let alone, ‘APIKOROS’?

    “… defending a Muslim apologist on a Jewish site….”

    So now suddenly she ceases to be a woman because she’s Muslima?

    She was herself unfailingly courteous & proper. No reason we shouldn’t’ve been. And that you would find that to constitute ‘defending’ shows FAR more about you than about me OR her.

    “You expected differently?”

    Expected common courtesy to a stranger who posed no threat to the site or its mission. Quaint concept, courtesy, I know.

    In any case, this was one more woman who was pressured off the site by your coterie. And I remind you (since you seem to have forgotten) that this whole series of postings is in the wake of your claim that YoursTruly has been “mostly disparaging towards almost every woman ever posting on this site.”

    I’ve shown you four, just for STARTERS (one more post coming up), who all left not because of any ‘disparagement’ from me, but from you and/or your tag-teammates.

  4. @ yamit82:

    “you bought into Hymies’ version hook line and sinker.”

    Bought into nothing. I took a strictly neutral view toward him AND his detractors. If you disagree, show me the post[s].

    “[H. Peskin] was making it impossible for us to communicate with any certainty with each other, and would not desist when called on it. It was because he wouldn’t quit that game that I supported his removal. (He was, in fact, the ONLY person whose removal I have have EVER supported, and if he’d jettison that kind of behavior for good, I’d personally have no problem having him back.)

    “Another lie you stood up for Hymie and I cannot recal a single instance you sided with those who wanted him banned.”

    I did NOT side with them. I never liked the reasons WHY they wanted him banned. They hated him for being a lefty. To me, that’s not much of a reason for getting rid of somebody here, regardless of what I think of his politics OR his personal style.

    “You are a terrible liar and I have an excellent memory especially when it comes to you and hymie…”

    Not as ‘excellent’ a memory as YoursTruly would’ve had to have in order to be as much of a liar as you suggest.

    “Yes you jeezus sense of compassion would require you to have hymie return and besides you got on so well for a long time…. “

    It’s not about ‘compassion’ so much as discretion. As long as he wasn’t masquerading as various other posters, he posed no threat to the blogsite. If he would abandon that trip, he’d again be no threat; it’s just that simple.

    As for his & my getting on so well, we really never had very many exchanges (of ANY kind, cordial or hostile). What few there were, were courteous & circumspect; nothing more, nothing less. Check the archives; you’ll see what I mean.

    — I recall his getting off on my tearing into YOU over one thing or another (and what else is new?). But his comment over that was really about YOU rather than me, and was also in fact actually ADDRESSED to somebody else, not me.

  5. @ yamit82:

    “Catarin other than Peskin may have been a real person but then how can YOU KNOW for certain????How do you know the shut in story to be true. “

    It’s not hard to tell them apart. Catarin had the kind of consistent (and persistent) naivete that comes of being sheltered for life and dependent on govt programs. Peskin was a liberal like her (a left-liberal in his case), with all the colossal ignorance (of how the world really works) that can go with that — but he wasn’t naive like Catarin.

    “You lie why not her?”

    I know HOW to lie (just like you) — but choose NOT to (unlike you).

    Catarin, however, didn’t know how to lie. (I’m not saying she was ‘incapable’ of it; only that she wouldn’t have known how to go about it in a ‘credible’ way.)

    “If I recall I think I was very patient and courteous to her…”

    Sometimes yes; sometimes no.

    “ShyGuy less so and maybe others”

    Quite a bit less so, both he and they. But there wasn’t a one of them who wouldn’t have lightened up with a word from PresentCompany, and promptly. .

    ” but [if] memory serves, [she]… was a Liberal through and through and that’s waving a red flag with many on this site.”

    Yes, I’ve noted [above] that she lived on the govt plantation & bought the big-govt line — so of course, she was a liberal, Hillary freak, Obamacare, the progressivist social agenda, the whole nine yards. And the posse jumped all over her for buying-blind into the liberal shtick, the liberal shlock, the whole ge’shmeer.

    “Even as I recall Yourself.”

    I’m sure-as-blazes no liberal, and I did correct her misinformation from time to time. But I did it completely w/o the sturm und drang that came from the posse. I just gave her the facts & the reasoning; no body-english (w/ exactly the same tone as when I correct Curio about something). . . . with Catarin, sometimes it was well-received, other times not.

    I recall exchanges w/ Catarin about whether haNitzri ‘could’ve been married’; the right to bear arms & how guns actually operate; what an abortion actually does, and whom it does it TO; etc, etc. You can imagine how it went on each of those, and she could get quite upset & even rude (especially about the latter two items). But I don’t recall her ever displaying anywhere near as much rip-roaring mad hostility as was directed TOWARD her for her ignorance.

  6. @ yamit82:

    “[Teshuvah] was not very fond of you nor of your opinions.”

    “She disagreed with a lot of opinions of bloggers on this site. But that was not what drove her from it. What drove her from the site was abuse (her word) — and it wasn’t from YoursTruly. . . .”

    “No not abuse she’s used to it.”

    “Used to it” or not, ABUSE was the reason she gave for leaving.

    “She did engender some abuse as you call it…”

    No, NOT as I call it. I repeat, it was SHE who gave that (explicit) reason.

    “… not so much for her jeeezus beliefs but because she is a total paranoiac and is into every conceivable conspiracy theory you can imagine some really far out beyond rationality.”

    Yes, she’s a conspiracy freak and damned-near as paranoid as you (albeit w/ different parameters) , and I have not suggested what the reasons were that drew the abuse that drove her away— only that she left, and gave the reason as “abuse.”

    If that didn’t come from you personally, then it came from the Yamit cohort (which included, at the time, Shy) — and that seems to have been ok with you, notwithstanding that you could’ve stopped it. . . . You let them go after her so your own hands could remain ‘clean.’

    “Each of us has our own red lines. Maybe you don’t because you have no real moral compass… “

    Do you practice reciting your posts to the bathroom mirror??? You always seem to be speaking to yourself.

    It’s easy enough to see that you, of all people (and who insist “we’re all adults here”), wouldn’t recognize an authentic moral compass if it bit you on the keister.

    “except what the liar dwarf paul teaches…”

    You still haven’t shown that he was a dwarf, and how that ‘fact’ seems to have escaped the NT. Nor have you ever shown him to be a ‘liar.’

    “… which you seem to follow to the letter.”

    Since you manifestly don’t know WHAT he teaches, you’re hardly positioned to know whether I (or any other persons) follow it. You’re just bloviating, as usual.

    “Want me to republish some [Teshuvah] emails I saved?”

    “By all means, absolutely. As a matter of courtesy, however, do get her permission first. Emails are exchanged in confidence.”

    “I would never break such a confidence”

    No, YOU’d never do THAT. That’s why you made the above offer. . . .

    — You’re such a 24-karat phony.

    “… and you know that’s why you feel secure that I won’t.”

    “Secure”? — why would I want you not to? Nu, for goodness’ sake, ask her already. Told you, I have no problem with it whatsoever. You think you’re the only one here who corresponded w/ her by email?

    — How do you think I knew that she ascribed her leaving to abuse??? When you gonna wake up & smell the coffee, pancho?