Photo: Hagai Aharon
Harsh criticism – Moshe Yaalon
Photo: Hagai Aharon

‘I read it in the paper’

Former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon tells Knesset committee he was consulted about disengagement plan only after decision was taken; army chief says he first heard about pullout through media reports

JERUSALEM – The decision-making process that preceded the formulation of the disengagement plan flawed, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon told the Knesset State Control Committee Tuesday.


During the session, initiated by Knesset Members Uri Ariel (National Union) and Amram Mitzna (Labor), Yaalon implied the army found out about the plan through media reports.


The outgoing army chief said he was first approached with questions about a possible withdrawal from some Gaza settlements in the summer of 2003.


Yaalon added the first time he heard of an intention to evacuate all Gaza settlements was in a talk with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.


However, he says, the first consultation meeting on the matter took place on February 17, 2004 (two weeks after Haaretz newspaper reported about the plan.)


In response to a question, Yaalon confirmed that he was invited to discuss the pullout’s implications with Prime Minster Ariel Sharon only after the matter was finalized with the United States.


“The situation assessment (regarding the pullout) took place only after the decision was taken?” Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party” asked Yaalon, who responded with a curt: “Right.”


“The analysis of the chances and risks took place only after the decision was made,” he added.


Yaalon, however, refused to reveal his opinion on the pullout and directed Knesset members to minutes of meetings at the Prime Minister’s Office.


'IDF was surprised'


Knesset Member Mitzna downplayed the disengagement’s decision-making process.


“In the entire history of the people of Israel you would discover there was never a serious discussion and preparation work when it came to fateful political issues,” he said. “We don’t have a serious dialogue for fear of finding ourselves dealing with political questions.”


Orlev, however, said the former army chief’s words were cause for concern.


“Ii the government session in June 2004 we expected to hear an assessment of the chances and risks associated with the disengagement, but the IDF could not present ministers with a security analysis…because the IDF, too, was surprised,” he said.


“It was clear the entire process was fundamentally flawed,” Orlev said. “First you shoot and then you mark the target. This is not how you build a country.”


פרסום ראשון: 06.28.05, 14:25
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