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.
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.”