No Gov’t Discussion Before or After Gaza
New York – In an interview with the leading Israeli daily Ha’aretz (June 4), outgoing head of National Security Council, General Giora Eiland described the Gaza retreat/evacuation plan as “contributing nothing to the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Eiland added that Olmert’s Judea & Samaria retreat/evacuation plan “does not lead to long-term stability the solution of two states for two peoples, is an impossible solution there is not enough area to contain two states between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, in order for Israel to maintain a defensible border it needs at least 12 percent of Judea & Samaria the second mistake is that even a Palestinian State with 100% of Gaza and 97% of Judea & Samaria is not viable. Such a country will be poor, radical, restive.”
Eiland added that the Olmert Retreat Plan “will not solve the conflict the Palestinian State will be a radical Hamas state, not satisfied and not viable. There will be continuous instability.”
He also said there was no “organized discussion by the Israeli government on whether the Gaza withdrawal was the right move,” and stated that Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has not discussed the new retreat/evacuation plan with him saying there has not been a discussion in the government establishment on whether the Olmert retreat/evacuation plan is good for Israel.
When asked whether the decision-making process in Israel appears sound, Eiland bluntly answered, “no.”
Minister of Housing, Meir Sheetrit told Ha’aretz (June 5) that “what Eiland said is absolutely correct. Before the implementation of the Gaza withdrawal there were few discussions, mostly on the compensation law. After the withdrawal there was never a discussion at any forum in order to examine the results and reach conclusions.” Sheetrit added that there has yet to be any “proper discussions” held on Olmert’s withdrawal plan for Judea and Samaria.
Senior Knesset members Dan Cohen (Meretz) and Abraham Ravitz (UTJ) yesterday demanded that Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Tzachi Hanegbi, scheduled special hearings on Eiland’s views. They called it a “political-defense bombshell,” which necessitated an urgent debate. They stated that PM Olmert, and Defense Minister Peretz, should both testify about the alleged “faulty handling” of political/security issues by the government.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “General Eiland’s statements on the Olmert plan for further unilateral withdrawals in Judea & Samaria mirror the arguments made to the ZOA last month by former Israel Defense Force Chief, General Moshe Ya’alon, that a two-state solution is a mistaken fantasy, and will lead to war. When the former Israel Defense Force Chief and the former head of Israel’s National Security Council unambigorously warn about the danger of handing over more territory to the Hamas/Palestinian Authority regime, the Olmert government should listen carefully and reconsider the stated policy on further unilateral withdrawals. It is deeply distressing to learn that the previous Israeli government had virtually no serious discussions on the pros and cons of the Gaza retreat. It is more distressing to learn that the Olmert administration also has not had critical discussions of the benefits and negative consequences of this new retreat plan. The ZOA urges the Olmert administration to immediately conduct intensive and wide-ranging discussions on the pros and cons of Olmert’s even more expansive and far-reaching plan.”