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June 17, 2016 3:41 am

Former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff: Until Middle East Stabilizes, Withdrawal of Israeli Military From Judea, Samaria, Jordan Valley Would Be ‘Irresponsible’

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Former IDF deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yair Naveh. Photo: IDF Spokesman.

Former IDF deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yair Naveh. Photo: IDF Spokesman.

A former deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army said that any decision to withdraw the IDF from Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley before the situation in the Middle East stabilizes would be “irresponsible.”

This was among many assessments made by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yair Naveh during an interview with Israel Radio’s Esti Perez on Thursday.

Naveh also explained why he was, and still is, critical of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014.

“[Israel] was playing on a different field from Hamas,” Naveh said. “We were trying to achieve a military victory, while Hamas was seeking political gains.”

Under such circumstances, he said, when two sides are after different goals, the whole notion of deterrence becomes irrelevant.

“What is clear to me is that Hamas’ main objective is preserving its survival as an organization.”

Therefore, he said, “In any confrontation with the group, past or future, it is its survival that Israel has to threaten. And it has to be made to understand that it is not immune…We certainly shouldn’t have said, as we did during the war, that we have no intention of harming its rule in Gaza.”

Naveh took issue with the notion that if Israel defeats Hamas, “a crueler ruler will follow.” This is the “wrong approach,” he said, adding, “Gaza is a human tragedy… with nothing but high birth and unemployment rates.”

Asked by Perez when the next war with Hamas will take place, he said, “I hope there won’t be one.”

Regarding plans to construct an underground wall to separate Israel from Gaza, Naveh expressed skepticism about its effectiveness, due to the great depths of some of the Hamas tunnels. However, he said, borrowing from an old adage, “Good walls make for good neighbors.”

Questioned about IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi’s comments about Hezbollah at this week’s annual Herzliya Conference – that Israel is “better prepared than ever” to confront the Lebanon-based Shi’ite terrorist organization serving as an Iranian proxy — Naveh likened Israeli deterrence in the North to that of the South.

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  • Herb Glatter

    Israel tried walls of steel, they cut them with acetylene torches. Egypt flattened large areas of their side of the border, flooded with sea water NO complaints from UN, etc. The security barrier is the most benign response to homicidal terror attacks.

  • robert davis

    I don’t know how good general naveh is in military tactics but he is a deepidiot in politicalmatters and as a military man he has no right to emit political opinions. His rhetoric about the difference in Israel’s and hamas politics is BALDERDASH EVERY PARTY TRIES TO PREVAIL AND THAT S WHAT MATTERS the rest is accessory and of no interest and stating stupidities of the kind is counter productive. Anyway turning Israel into a mini State by withdrawl(s)is irresponsible because it welcomes political and military pressures. Those stupid generals should learn to shut up.

    • Yale

      I think you have misread or misunderstood Gen. Naveh. What he meant is well-represented by Leonard Feinmans’ comment which was just below yours when I read the entry.

  • My assessment of Protective Edge as a failure is because of the political outcome. The only acceptable end to a war of any sort is a decisive win. When it ends in a cease-fire, you did not win, and that is not acceptable. The cease-fire was disingenuous. Israel ceased, and Hamas continued to fire. Since Israel did not finish the job, they lost the political war. The body count may have been disproportionate, but that is not what determines the winner. Politics depends on perceptions, and if Hamas wants to claim a victory, even with its unacceptable losses, it can. And they are selling this idea all over the world.
    Israel must unconditionally control all of its lands. If the IDF is needed, they must remain in place until regular police can replace them. But, full control must be unequivocal. There can be no doubt in anybody’s mind of who is in control of the land. Eretz Yisrael is all of these lands, and anything else would be giving away what the enemy wants. He can not have it.

  • stevenl

    Looks like A ‘ayalon failed to finish Hamas in 2014 and he wants to be the next PM!

  • The situation could develop into a different situation, if the oil prices were 120 $ a barrel to day. Those who back up Hamas from behind their goals is to exhaust the entire Israeli people’s minds into a paranoid mental labyrinth. A military victory is also a political gain. In fact Operation Protective did a very good unforgettable thing. EU and UN was discovered been cowards liars and law manipulators, is the reason to day Israel did enter UN and NATO!