Israeli army vs. Sharon? What are possible implications?

Israeli officer says tactics backfiring

In my opinion, as a supporter of Israel who nevertheless acknowledges Israel’s hands aren’t totally clean, this is a good thing.

Perhaps it will energize the Israeli left and moderates who think the settlements are more trouble than they are worth. To me, there is little question that these elements of the Israeli body politic have been silenced by the current idiotic 3-year intifada, thus enpowering Sharon. (Way to go, Yasser. :rolleyes: Do the world - and most importantly your people - a favor and die, already. Preferably of a massive coronary while being serviced by a Jewish male prostitute who’s smothered in bacon grease, so you won’t endure as a martyr.)

Certainly if the officers’ comments indicate the attitudes of the professional IDF, this is worth debating. It seems reasonable to assume that Sharon’s dreams of extending the fence way into the territories would require quite a few members of the IDF to defend, which might represent an unsustainable drain on IDF resources.

Furthermore, it seems obvious that the construction of settlements is purely ideological and makes little strategic sense - it stretches resources, it makes for odious anti-Israeli/anti-Semetic propaganda, and it deligitimizes any sort of Palestinian moderate movement as surely as Arafat marginalizes the Israeli moderates.

I’m convinced that Israel must get on the moral high ground (although I’m satisfied that currently, Israel is acting much more ethically than the Palestinians; obviously, much of the world disagrees). Although it has satisfied me, Israel must prove to the world beyond a doubt, that it is not the primary aggressor in this conflct, but is acting in self-defense in the face of Palestinian/Arab hatred.

Withdraw, build the wall along the green line as much as possible to get on the moral high ground, hope that Arafat dies soon, but threaten to unleash hell on the Palestinians/Arabs if the terrorism continues.

Is it possible that the criticism of Sharon’s tactics by members of the IDF would be the spark that reenergizes the moderate (and justifiably fearful) Israelis?

I think Israel is as bad as the palestinians morally speaking with Sharon leading… so no moral high ground for Israel now. Both sides are “wrong”. Thou I agree that Arafat helped Sharon into power… the same can be said about Sharon getting in the way of more decent palestinian leadership.

It goes to show that the officers of the IDF, that gave Israel their reputation as a must be taken seriously country, are still decent chaps. Pity that the US isn’t critical of Israeli methods too.

Ftr, the sentiment isn’t new, it’s just that it’s taken a while to filter through the ranks. Indeed, the same setiment was echoed by the Chief Rabbi in the UK about 18 months ago, about the time this declaration surfaced from the Israeli Refusniks:

· We, reserve combat officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who were raised upon the principles of Zionism, sacrifice and giving to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, who have always served in the front lines, and who were the first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, in order to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it.

· We, combat officers and soldiers who have served the State of Israel for long weeks every year, in spite of the dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people. We, whose eyes have seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides.

· We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories, destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country.

· We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF’s human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society.

· We, who know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end.

· We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements.

· We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.

· We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense.

**· The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose – and we shall take no part in them. **

The problem facing Israel, imho, is that Sharon’s tactic’s aren’t rational, instead they’re an extention of his own ego and how he see’s himself and his place in the history of Zionism; thus to question the tactics is to question the overpowering bully himself.
As to your question, it hasn’t thus far.

I just saw the SNL skit where Will Ferrell plays Nethanyahu and Chris Kattan plays Arafat after the Wye River Accords. At the very end of the sketch, after playing best buddies, the disembodied voice asks: so, will this help bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East.

Benny and Yassir while smiling and punching each other in the arm and the like: “OH NO! Ha, ha, ha, etc.”

“Pity that the US isn’t critical of Israeli methods too.”

Note the date, JUNE of 2001.

Public opinion is a funny thing. As much as everyone in other nations knows US public opinion, they don’t. I know several people who make their livings trying to gauge US public opinion. If you really think the US is one big Israeli cheering section, your choice of media is nothing but propaganda.

As someone who thinks that both sides have very dirty hands in the current conflict, Palestinians somewhat more so than Israelis (though as always your mileage may vary, and I don’t intent this as any kind of endorsement of Israeli policies) I’d like to hope that it would energize an actual settlement to the problem. I’m not holding my breath, though. While it would help the situation immeasurably to get rid of them, the settlements on the occupied territories are far too old and entrenched to be easily withdrawn, and the conflict is too old for an easy answer to the problem.

Getting rid of settlements wouldn’t help in the least except as part of a final peace agreement.

Settlements on the Sinai did nothing to prevent an Israeli-Egyptian peace, it’s merely an attempt to get something for nothing by the Palestinian side.

No, because by next week the criticisms will be forgotten because some fool will walk into some crowd of innocent people and blow him/herself apart justifying the position of the hardliners and discrediting the moderates. The IDF will respond within hours with more assasinations, curfews, and home demolitions hardening more young Palestinians moderates and causing Palestinian militants to vow revenge. A few days/weeks later, some fool will walk into some crowd of innocent…

This cycle will continue until Arafat and Sharon are out of the picture.

This will not end it.

It will end when the US decides that it will end.

Baloney. This went on long before the US directly allied itself with Israel.

And if all it took was US will to end it, Clinton would have ended it along with Rabin. There was just one problem. This guy named Arafat, who didn’t believe in things like keeping agreements.

I think that the tendency of Middle Eastern nations to be xenophobic (especially in their leadership) is a natural result of thousands of years of them undergoing various pogroms and genocides. They HAVE to have a leader that at least promises them security, and Israel,Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Syria, at al righfully expect extermination at some point if they don’t totally exterminate their enemies.

Im my view, they all have the same fear… being exterminated… and they’re not paranoid, they’re just thinking from experience.
The British/American colonialism (amongst other countries) has just exaggerated the problem. Our gluttonous consumption of their resources, and our years of brutal colonialism, have given them a righteous view of us as the greater evil in their lives. We deserve it. If our presence there was ANY kind of peaceful influence, it would have shown decades ago, but it’s not.

If we were willing to pay $5.00 dollars a gallon for gas, AND if our huge power was used (for once) to make sure that the money was equitably distributed instead of again flowing away from the people living there to the already obscenely rich and corrupt corporations, as it is now, we could have a real chance to help settle things.

We continue to basically take their resources from them at gunpoint, like we have all along, and then we have the nerve pretend it’s about freedom and democracy, whilst we promote brutal dictatorships worldwide. Our stance is in the moral sub-basement, and they rightfully fear genocide around every corner.

I believe that Arafat AND Sharon have broken many peace agreements, but the more I look into it, the more it appears that Israel is ahead of Palestine in terms of breaking ceasefires. The American media tends to ignore any actions of Israel, while inflating the actions of Palestine, when the body count shows that Palestine suffers far more innocent deaths than does Israel.

On the other hand, I feel that Israel has a better chance of changing from within, as illustrated by various progressive and peaceful movements, whereas Palestine needs some serious help, a reasonable geopolitical boundary being one thing. So far, Palestine has been offered crap compared to what was granted Israel. I feel the Israel has compounded that problem tenfold with the wall.

How does that song go?? “Tear down the Wall”. It seems appropriate here.

Actually, your whole case is for BUILDING walls, since all the sides want seperation from one another.

To get back to the OP - an “insider” take on it all:

I wouldn’t give the latest criticism by the Chief of staff TOO much weight - it isn’t as though the IDF top brass are generally mute. These guys are already politicians, and General Ya’alon (for one) is already putting his civilian portfolio together - and he obviously thinks that a somewhat more centrist line than Sharon and Mofaz’s will get him votes. Other generals may (and do) have other designs on public opinion.

“Political” statements by IDF generals are a dime a dozen (even though they are not supposed to exist). This one just caught world press attention, is all.

Two - more longterm - points do come up: One is that Gen. Ya’alon thinks the Israeli public may be ready for a swing back towards the center. FWIW, I tend to agree. The other is just the (forgotten) observation that what we REALLY need are some Palestinian top dogs weighing in with the same kind of thoughts on their own side. 100000 Palestinians rallying to tell their leaders that they want peace would be helpful, too… This was the largest memorial service for Rabin in the last 5 years, bolstering the thought (point number one again) that the israeli public may again be ready for dialog. Now for someone to talk to…

Dan Abarbanel

I don’t get what the general’s point is. ISraeli occupation of the West Bank means fewer Israelis dying in Israel. Withdrawal means an increase in successful terrorist attacks.

The Palestinians should recognize what kind of message that sends the average Israeli. Instead of lashing out, they should ask themselves, “Why do they hate us?”


One thing I forgot above - how long do you think an Arab general (or, for that matter, politician) would last after having publicly criticized his Illustrious Leader?

If you think this has nothing to do with the overall situation - think again… True freedom of speech is NOT an embellishment on a free society - it is its linchpin.

Dan Abarbanel

It’s also important for peace. Dictatorships are rarely peaceful. They are always at war with someone, be it another nation or the people they lord it over. A Palestinian dictatorship will need to make war on Israel to distract attention from its own faults.

How did the Israeli public weigh in on this?

I sounded promising but after the very vocal reaction from the hardliners, I haven’t heard much about it. Granted there have been other lead stories to cover…

(links refer to the Geneva Accord of circa Oct. 10)

Generally went off like a lead balloon… mostly because Dr. Beilin is considered to be too concilliatory and appeasing toward the Palestinians. His reputation can be compared to that of Neville Chamberlin.
It matters not at all what the facts are… that’s the way he is viewed. His support for any kind of peace initiative is probably a kiss of death as far as Israeli public reaction is considered.

Also, accord was signed going into a week-long holiday period in Israel, when everyone, his wife and the dog were on vacation. Preferably without access to TV and newspapers. Way to go about getting media and public attention… :rolleyes:

OTOH, Minister Yoseph “Tommy” Lapid, leader of the “Shinui” party (centrist, sort of like Lib/Dem - 15/120 members in Knesset, and part of the coalition government) today floated a proposal saying, essentially, “Nezarim for a cease-fire” (Sorry - Hebrew only site). This, too, is un-official, but would have been unheard-of only a short while back.

Dan Abarbanel