Israeli Army Chief Admits
Blunders Against Palestinians
Most Israelis Don't Feel Israel Won

Islam Online

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM ( & 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 <>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 injured.
Yaalon also cited the killing by Israeli troops in October 2002 of a sexagenarian Palestinian woman in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
International human rights groups have repeatedly <>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 headquarters.
"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 Intifada.
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 <>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 <>completed the transfer of security control in the West Bank city of Bethlehem to Palestinian authorities.
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 <>large numbers due to the Palestinian Intifada.



This Site Served by TheHostPros