Major Israeli Columnist: Olmert Plan Will Increase Violence
June 12, 2006

New York – Ari Shavit, the distinguished columnist for the major Israeli daily, Ha’aretz, said today, “the basic law of the Israeli – Palestinian jungle is that an Israeli withdrawal does not diminish the conflict, but instead exacerbates it.” (Ha’aretz, June 12, 2006).

Other quotes from Shavit article:

“The unilateralist strategy was never accepted by Sharon, Eiland (Gen. Giora Eiland just stepped down as Chief of Israel’s National Security Council) argues. Had Sharon remained prime minister, he would not be proceeding toward a convergence plan a la Ehud Olmert. Even in his final days as prime minister, Sharon viewed a withdrawal to the 1967 borders as a disaster.”

“Israel has no organized strategic management method. There’s no system, Eiland says. There is no critical examination of fundamental assumptions. There is no systematic definition of goals and targets. There is too much reliance on intuition. There is a strong tendency toward improvisation and instant solutions. There is no attempt at beginning-to-end planning. The opposite is true: There is great pressure to reach the finish line quickly without wasting precious time on forethought.”

“And the result? A questionable decision-making process with regard to the definition of the disengagement. A complete lack of decision-making with regard to the declarations on the convergence. A serious foreign policy failure vis-a-vis Iran’s nuclear program. The Hamas election surprise and a refusal to confront its significance. A country that is run like a shtetl, not a state. A country where every medium-sized company is managed more responsibly than the state itself. “

“Since any Israeli withdrawal is interpreted by the Palestinians as surrender, it increases their appetite to obtain additional surrenders. The result is not stability, but violence, which under the conditions of the end of the occupation, is liable to become extreme.”

“Eiland is not the first to voice criticism along these lines. He was preceded by Ephraim Levy. He was preceded by Uzi Dayan. They were preceded by most of the important people who preceded them on the command bridge of the Israeli ship of state.”

“This time the harsh comments of the outgoing head of the NSC must not be ignored. His remarks must be taken seriously. They deserve public debate. They must be examined and they must lead to a plan of action.”

“The command is to think now, to think before it is too late.”

Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein said, “Shavit and Eiland are not alone in their deep concerns about the dangers of the Olmert Retreat Plan. Many other serious leaders and analysts have recently spoken out against this plan, including former Israel Defense Force Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuval Steinitz, #2 Labor Party figure Yitzhak Herzog, senior Kadima figure Meir Shitreet, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former Israeli Ambassador Zalman Shoval, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem Post Managing Editor Caroline Glick and 2005 laureate in economics Professor Robert Aumann.

” I believe that the tide is beginning to turn in Israel against this mistaken policy of surrender. Two recent polls show only 1/3 of the Israelis are supporting this plan. We should not be surprised because Olmert recovered only 21% of the votes of those who voted in the recent election.

“When Ehud Olmert spoke to the Israeli Policy Forum in New York last June, he said, ‘We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.’ I don’t believe Prime Minister Olmert speaks for the strong and courageous Israeli people when he makes this type of troubling comment. As General Moshe Ya’alon, former Chief of the Israel Defense Force said, ‘we need more Churchills, not Chamberlains.'”

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