- OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (IslamOnline.net
& News Agencies) -- Israeli Chief-of-Staff Moshe Yaalon admitted Friday,
July 4, Israeli forces committed blunders against Palestinians during the
three-year Intifada, while a new survey indicated that most Israelis do
not believe Israel emerged victorious against the Intifada.
- He deplored the damage caused to the Palestinian education
and culture ministries during the Israeli so-called Defensive Shield operation
in the spring of 2002.
- "This was a blunder. There were intolerable acts
of vandalism," said Yaalon, who was second-in-command at the time,
in an interview with published in the Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper,
making his first year in office.
- "We made a certain number of mistakes, such as the
recent strike on the car of a Hamas terrorist, not knowing that his wife
and girl were with him," said the Israeli army chief.
- He was referring to the June 12 helicopter raid in Gaza
City that <http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2003-06/12/article09.shtml>killed
Yasser Taha, wife and their infant daughter, as well as four civilians.
- Four Israeli helicopter gunships rained the car with
six missiles, while a seventh was fired as bystanders rushed to help the
- Yaalon also cited the killing by Israeli troops in October
2002 of a sexagenarian Palestinian woman in the northern West Bank city
- International human rights groups have repeatedly <http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2002-11/23/article54.shtml>slammed
Israeli army for incessant aggressions on innocent Palestinians over the
past three years, including home demolitions, assassinations, daily humiliations
at checkpoints and excessive use military force on civilian populations.
- Recalling staunch opposition to the Israeli siege of
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the Israeli army chief admitted that
Arafat came out stronger after the five-week siege of his Ramallah presidential
- "My position was not accepted. We paid a price for
it. The Americans issued us a severe reprimand," Yaalon said.
- Not Victorious
- The top Israeli brass argued that "in the light
of the resistance shown by the Israeli people and the heroic struggle of
the Tsahal (the Israeli army) against terrorism we can announce that we
have won," the Intifada.
- However, a new survey indicated that the majority of
Israelis believe they were not victorious.
- The poll, carried by the top-selling Yediot Aharonot
daily, said 73 percent of Israelis did not think Israel won against the
- Among them, 33 percent argued the Palestinians had won
the Intifada, which started in September 2000.
- Yaalon's declaration of victory drew sharp criticism
with the Maariv newspaper which quoted senior defense sources as saying
this would "only complicate" the situation.
- On Sunday, June 29, Israeli forces <http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2003-06/30/article01.shtml>pulled
out of some areas in the northern Gaza Strip - occupied since the beginning
of the Intifada - and transferred security responsibilities to the Palestinians
and reopened the main road linking the north of the strip to the south.
- On Wednesday, July 2, they also <http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2003-07/02/article05.shtml>completed
the transfer of security control in the West Bank city of Bethlehem to
- According to a report by Israelâs Central Bureau
of Statistics (CBS) in September 2002, many Jewish settlers have left their
areas built on Palestinian land in <http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2002-09/30/article01.shtml>large
numbers due to the Palestinian Intifada.