Yaalon: West’s appeasement
& lack of will troubling
Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, has called upon Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign and argued that last year’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria caused the latest war with Hizballah in Lebanon. In calling for Olmert’s resignation, Yaalon also said that Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the current IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, should take responsibility for the failures during the recent Lebanon war and resign. Yaalon also said that in the six years since Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hizballah had generally restrained itself but that last year’s Gaza withdrawal had encouraged it to believe that Israel was weak and unlikely to seriously respond to new attacks. Yaalon’s remarks are also reflected in a recent poll in Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s largest circulation daily newspaper, which shows that 63% of Israelis believe Olmert should resign while 74% believe that Peretz should resign.
Yaalon argued that, upon his becoming Chief of Staff in 2002, every Hizballah provocation met a fierce IDF response. The world, he said, was also beginning to recognize Hizballah as a terror group, and Israel was succeeding against Hizballah both diplomatically and militarily until last year’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Yaalon said, “The disengagement was portrayed as a victory for terrorism, and it was a reward for Hizballah and the Palestinians.” Yaalon also describes the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for a cease-fire between Israel and Hizballah, as another act of appeasement (Jerusalem Post, September 1).
Other excerpts from Yaalon’s interview:
Israel’s war against Hizballah is the “world’s war … [appeasement] encourages terror against the world. I am worried by the world’s behavior … The West is stronger than Islamic fundamentalism, but the West’s lack of determination worries me.”
“The world agrees that Lebanon must have sovereignty and that Hizballah must be disarmed. Most of Lebanon is in favor … But the world put out a resolution that helped Hizballah with a cease-fire, and the rest is just declarative … the disarmament of Hizballah should have been possible to achieve even without a war.”
“We have to handle this at a diplomatic level. Iran uses proxies, and Syria plays the role of facilitator, and the world is letting them get away with it. We need a diplomatic effort to make sure the world holds them responsible.”
“The West is being portrayed as lacking determination, and that image is hurting us … We lived for a decade under the assumption that we were about to obtain peace and quiet. We need to be woken up.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is high time for Israel and the whole world to learn that appeasement and one-sided concessions to the PA have brought only more terror and violence while dramatically reducing the likelihood of a real peace with the Palestinians. Donald Kagan, Professor of History and Classics at Yale University, said in his landmark book, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, that throughout 3000 years of recorded history, appeasement has always failed. As Winston Churchill once put it, “Those who appease the crocodile will simply be eaten last.