Saturday, August 12, 2006

What the Israeli Mil-Int Are Thinking. If ‘Thinking’ is the Right Word

In this weekend’s Haaretz magazine, Gidi Weitz interviews one Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser , who until very recently headed the research division of Israel’s Military Intelligence. The man has some problems with attitude, and other problems with reality, human dignity, democracy (he seems to think that it can be dangerous if actually used).

Some quotes may whet your appetite for the entire article:

The media doesn’t play by the rules – democracy is apparently not a wartime venture:

“[...]Our media is dealing with things that are not done in wartime. I don't say we need a media that spouts the official line, but you don't ask the chief of staff about a commission of inquiry, as Ilana Dayan did - that seems to me insane. Do you understand what a chief of staff is? You say yes, but you don't really know what a chief if staff is."

To ask is democratic

"But there are democracies that went crazy, that started to do harm to themselves."

He has obviously read no foreign press recently:

"Israel never presented itself as a victim. Always Samson. The conception of Zionism is to take our fate in our hands, not to be victims."

He doesn't seem to understand what an impact Nasrallah has had on the Arab world:

"Nasrallah is a person who is full of himself. In love with himself. Confident of his capabilities. In practice he has limited knowledge. His analytical capability may be not bad, but the self-confidence he has to demonstrate publicly makes him confused. That's what happened to him this time. He developed a theory and was caught in it without being able to judge himself critically. He had to justify his existence, so he explained that he was defending Lebanon and safeguarding its



"Physically he was ready. In terms of his consciousness he was not ready. At the political level, he has no choice but to lose this war."

Lose? He doesn't seem to be losing. [The interviewer seems surprised]

"He will not lose from the point of view that he will stop firing rockets - Saddam also kept firing rockets in 1991. The political conditions in Lebanon will change. After the war Hezbollah will have a weaker or stronger political status, but its military status will be entirely different. It will not be on the border with Israel. It will not continue to be a threat to Israel."

Has Israel’s out of control behavior had any impact in terms of recruiting new people to the Hezbollah?

"Not one person has been added to the Hezbollah fold. We may have added people who hate Israel, but not to the Hezbollah fold. The Lebanese are not dumbbells: they know why they are suffering."

His evaluation of the likelihood of peace with Syria counts as psychological projection – you can see what he thinks by reading what he says Syria thinks:

"If Syria loses Lebanon, there is a better prospect of arriving at peace with them. If they emerge victorious and nothing happens in Lebanon, why should they go to peace?"

Why, indeed?

"I think the Palestinians themselves do not want the occupation to end. This is to understand why they are pursuing us with rockets from Gaza, where the occupation ended. What is this pursuit? An attempt to force us to shoot at them? It's not all the Palestinians, but groups within them. The moderate voices are heard only faintly."

Unlike in Israel, where moderates are arrested in anti-war demonstrations.

And apparently, there is no chance of peace talks with the HAMAS (which was elected by the Palestinian populace in something of a landslide):

"Hamas, like Hezbollah, wants ... the annihilation of the State of Israel. Let's not get confused here. Even if Hezbollah is disarmed, it will not change that goal."

The bottom line?

So according to what you say there will be no permanent settlement in the years ahead?

"I don't see it.”

So that’s what Israel’s military is on about: eternal warfare. It is not clear to me who is supposed to benefit from this condition. Surely not the people living in Israel, whatever their religion and ethnic origin; surely not the government – we will see a huge backlash as soon as the troops pull out; it seems to me that the government will be recalled with a no-confidence vote when it tries to find the budget – NIS 7 billion, which is $ 1.5 – to repair the damage caused and rehabilitate the bodies and lives broken by the war; surely not the Israeli economy, which will go down the drain: it relies on foreign investment.

So who benefits from this state of things? The military, I guess. And AIPAC, which will be in the business of extorting support from the U.S. Congress for a long, long time.

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