Photo: Eli Elgarat
Danny Yatom
Photo: Eli Elgarat
Photo: AP
Soldiers in southern Lebanon
Photo: AP
Photo: Reuters
Operation continues
Photo: Reuters

Labor MK: Stop fighting at once

Decision to widen ground incursion into Lebanon, when it is clear war must end soon, angers and baffles MK Danny Yatom. 'There is no justification to send tens of thousands of soldiers into battle and endanger their lives on eve of ceasefire,' he says

Knesset member Danny Yatom (Labor) called for the fighting in Lebanon to end immediately and condemned the decision to widen the incursion after the UN Security Council already passed a ceasefire resolution.


"The expansion of the operation and endangering the lives on soldiers with an impending ceasefire," is a mistake, Yatom said. "How do you explain this fighting to soldiers, who are endangering their lives, when there is already a ceasefire," he demanded.



Yatom told Ynet that in the long days since the outbreak of the war, "I gave dozens of interviews and expressed support for the government despite the fact that I had some criticisms. But I did it because it is wrong to sow doubt and confusion beyond that which already exists. However, the decision to expand the ground offensive seems like a serious mistake to me."


"The role of the army is to protect the citizens. The role of the government is to send soldiers into battle only when it knows they are risking their lives for a good reason.


"I don't understand the goal of the massive land operation. If the goal was to teach Hizbullah a lesson and broadcast to the Isralei public and governments surrounding us that the IDF is strong and can deal more damages to Hizbullah, this goal doesn't justify sending tens of thousands of soldier to battle and risking their lives.


"Hizbullah got a hard blow, and additional achievements on the battlefield, like killing a dozen more Hizbullah operatives, or destroying a few hundred rockets and launchers – this won't lesson or increase the magnitude of the blow Hizbullah has already incurred."


According the the MK, "sending soldiers when there is already a ceasefire and everyone agreed to accept it doesn't give a good explanation to the soldiers as to why we did this. And it is clear to us all that this operation will cost a high price in lives."


So why go through with it?


Yatom believes that various media elements pressed for the extension of the operation.


"I don't want to get into it," he said. "Don't drag me into the political battlefield. There were pressures applied via the media. Writers, and I don't know who sent them or who gave them the moral authority to push the fighting, said that Hizbullah must be defeated. First of all, Hizbullah won't be defeated, and second, it can't be done in three days," said Yatom, who served as head of the Mossad in the past.



"I want to say something about the asymmetrical conflict between a terror organization and an army," he added. "You cannot defeat a terror organization. The leaders say so too. If you can't defeat a terror organization, then why after waiting so long are we launching this attack specifically now? It is not completely clear to me."


"What interests me is that there is a wrong decision here, and I'm trying to stop it. I'm not saying to immediately withdraw, I'm just saying not to expand the ground operation and to continue according to the same parameters used up until now: Air and artillery. Any entry into a new village will cost a price and will achieve limited accomplishments," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 08.13.06, 00:24
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