Unity of Vision at the Top

(Ha'aretz) Aluf Benn - The discussions held this week at the Herzliya Conference on National Security highlighted the ideological unanimity that now exists between the prime minister, the defense minister, and the highest professional levels of the defense and intelligence establishments. All agree that Israel must continue the war with the Palestinians until Yasser Arafat and his colleagues have been replaced by a new Palestinian leadership with which it is possible to discuss a diplomatic solution to the conflict. They also all expect an American attack on Iraq to serve as an engine for far-reaching strategic changes that will weaken the Arabs and strengthen Israel. IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said that Israel's war aim must be a decisive victory in which the other side recognizes that it has no chance of achieving anything via terror. Until this occurs, he said, Israel must keep up its military pressure on the terrorist infrastructure, alongside "differential humanitarian" abatements to make life easier for the Palestinian civilian population, in order to encourage the process of second thoughts now taking place among the Palestinians. Ya'alon said he opposed evacuating isolated settlements such as Netzarim in Gaza "under pressure from terror," viewing this as an expression of weakness that would strengthen the armed struggle against Israel. "We will pay many times over for an evacuation under pressure from terror, due to the tailwind such a move would give the Palestinian struggle," he said. [Amos Harel - Ha'aretz]

2002-12-04 00:00:00

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