Monday, November 03, 2003

Israeli Chief of Staff criticism signals crisis in Israel's army and government: "[The criticisms] go to the core of a growing belief in Israel that the hardline policy against the Palestinians has failed and that, with the government’s failure to stop “terrorism” and tackle a persistent economic crisis, the nation is dangerously adrift. That Ya’alon’s comments characterise a deeper malaise are highlighted by his own credentials as a renowned hawk who once advocated a military crackdown to teach the Palestinians a psychological lesson that Israel is “invincible”.

"According to Professor Martin Van Creveld, a military historian at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, Ya’alon’s criticisms are an admission that such an approach is bankrupt and has serious consequences. “I think people are beginning to realise that the ship is sinking, so they are deserting it and blaming each other,” he said. “Israel has been fighting people much weaker than itself for the past 20 years. This particular argument involving Ya’alon will pass over but it’s very symptomatic of what I would say is a disintegration of the Israeli army. We have God knows how many soldiers refusing to turn up for reserve duty and others preferring to go to jail. It compares to the disintegration the Americans experienced in Vietnam. This army is running out of people willing to fight and die."

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