IDF Breaks Rightwards
"We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases."—Major General Gadi Eizenkot speaking about Lebanon
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The other surprising issue is the date of the picture. The retiring general served in this position just two years. At this level, there are no set rules regarding the length of the post, but three years would have been considered a full term, despite the current Chief of the General Staff having served in that position just one year before being promoted. The current change looks so suspicious that Attorney General of Israel* Yehuda Weinstein asked the Minister of Defense to clarify why this change was made and why it couldn't wait until after the elections. In other words, the Attorney General suspected political considerations regarding the event. He had good reasons for fearing that, despite his later approval of Eizenkot.
Yair Naveh—the leaving Deputy—is an unusual officer. He was the first Nationalistic Religious to become major general; his political affiliation is easily recognizable by his handwoven "kipah" skullcap. Ariel Sharon promoted him to Head of Home Front Command and in 2005, to Head of Central Command (which is responsible for the West Bank). He was expected to create a positive attitude between the IDF and the settlers. The following year, he destroyed the outpost of Amona by order of the Supreme Court and became the settlers' Nemesis. In 2007, he expectedly left the IDF, only to be called back in 2010, to serve as Deputy. Like army commander Gantz, he was one of the few officers that had not been tainted by Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Yet, he didn't enjoy the trust of hardliners, and the settler leaders kept issuing slightly disguised insults in his direction ("he was just fulfilling orders," was probably the most popular among these). In parallel, the political map in Israel kept moving rightwards to the extent that for the first time in a generation, there is no doubt who will be Prime Minister after the elections. Seizing the opportunity, Naveh was dismissed prematurely.
His words identify him politically. The main ideologist behind Herut (the predecessor of the modern Likud party) Ze'ev Jabotinsky, wrote in The Iron Wall (1923): "All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population," and "every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement." "Two Banks has the Jordan – This is ours and, that is as well," he added in 1929 in a poem. General Eizenkot shifted Jabotinsky's statement northwards, towards Lebanon. Benjamin Netanyahu is thriving. After the elections, he will replace Minister of Defense Ehud Barak with somebody closer to him. Days before the elections, he got rid of a National Religious general who wouldn't defy a mere Supreme Court order and replaced him with a beast of Jabotinskyal-magnitude, who preaches brutal colonial domination of Israel over its surroundings. The IDF has a tight chain of command; Benjamin Netanyahu is mimicking it, surrounding himself with loyal officers of similar militant ideology. Soon after the elections the operational reasons for this will be clear.
* Attorney General of Israel (HaYoetz HaMishpati LaMemshala, literally The Legal Advisor to the Government) is the head of the executive branch legal system. Israel’s State Attorney (in Hebrew: Praklitut Hamedinah) is the legal representative of the State of Israel in its courts.
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