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Sunday, December 9, 2012
[Speak first - think later (if ever?)] Former IDF chief indicates Israel should withdraw from West Bank unilaterally

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

No, Gabi Ashkenazi isn't some beer belly neighbor sitting on the porch some
summer Shabbat evening spitting sunflower seed shells as he shares his half
baked ideas.

He doesn't have a beer belly.

He isn't a neighbor.

Its already winter.

And Ashkenazi isn't spitting sunflower seed shells while he talks.

But Mr. Ashkenazi most certainly shared some incredibly half baked ideas
with his audience.

It's silly enough to suggest we draw a line on a the map indicating the
maximum area we can concede - given that the entire world will then take
that line as our OPENING offer.

But then to suggest Israel retreat to that line without making any
provisions for what happens beyond them - and this after what happened in
Gaza?!?

So here is the truly scary question: does this reflect the quality of the
thinking capabilities of the people responsible for the defense of the
Jewish State?

A middle ground: the smarts required to prepare an army for war and engage
in battle may not necessarily be the same kind of smarts required for
diplomacy and strategic thinking.

Put another way: perhaps Gabi Ashkenazi serves to illustrate just how
important it is for civilians to be involved in policy making.]

Former IDF chief indicates Israel should withdraw from West Bank
unilaterally
Israel must set own borders, take long view toward peace talks, Gabi
Ashkenazi says
By Philip Podolsky December 9, 2012, 7:40 pm9
http://www.timesofisrael.com/former-idf-chief-says-israel-should-withdraw-from-west-bank-unilaterally/

Israel should define its borders, even if this means doing so unilaterally,
and separate from the Palestinians, former IDF chief of General Staff Gabi
Ashkenazi said Sunday.

Ashkenazi’s statement, which amounted to a call for Israel to unilaterally
withdraw from much of the West Bank, followed similar statements from other
high-ranking officials over the past several years, the result of mounting
frustration over the lack of a peace settlement and Israel’s continued hold
on the West Bank.

“Israel should reduce the extent of the conflict with the Palestinians. The
separation is in Israel’s interests,” said Ashkenazi, speaking at the
Israeli Business Conference in Tel Aviv. “Israel must recognize the limits
of its power and cooperate with forces that support Israeli interests.”

Ashkenazi said Israel should not necessarily wait for a peace deal to pull
out of the West Bank, but did not say where borders should be drawn, saying
only that they would need to have wide purchase among Israelis.

Israel carried out a similar move in 2005, when it left the Gaza Strip
without an agreement with the Palestinians in place.

“We can take the long view toward negotiations, and when the Palestinians
want peace, let them come and make peace,” Ashkenazi added. “Let’s put a
proposal on the table — an outline that 80 percent of Israelis agree on
today, in my opinion — and start working toward it. We should take the
initiative.”

Earlier this year, Defense Minister Ehud Barak floated the idea of Israel
pulling out of the West Bank on its own if talks with the Palestinians
failed to see any progress.

Ashkenazi served as chief of staff from 2007 to 2011. Though widely thought
to be eyeing a political career, current law requires high-ranking army
officers to wait three years before entering the political arena.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced ostensible
peace partner Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his
participation in an ongoing reconciliation effort with Hamas, saying that
the latter group has ”no intention of compromising with us; they want to
destroy the state.”

In turn, Abbas warned Israel not to withhold tax revenues that were to be
transferred to the Palestinian Authority, saying he would go to the
International Criminal Court if Jerusalem did not honor its agreements.

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