Akiva Eldar writes in Haaretz of where the real power lies in Israel:
Rather than demand an apology, the Israeli peace camp needs to send Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon a large bouquet of flowers. The videotaped appearance of the vice premier before a group of Feiglinites last week is worth its weight in gold. His statements are straight-from-the-source, first-hand proof of the decisive role the senior military echelon has played in thwarting the peace process.
When he was chief of the General Staff, Ya’alon bragged of how he would often say in closed forums that, “every time the politicians bring us the dove of peace, we as an army need to clean up after it.” Not only did Ya’alon acknowledge that while serving as the top military official in the country, he had denigrated elected officials in the presence of other men in uniform, but he also admitted that as one who had final say on all matters relating to the biggest and most powerful organization in the country, he “cleaned up” the bird droppings of peace.
Ya’alon thus confirms the chilling description offered by Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami of how the Israel Defense Forces’ top brass helped stoke the fires in the territories. In his book “Hazit lelo oref” (“A Front Without a Rearguard”), the man who served as foreign minister and, by extension, was a member of the security cabinet during the outbreak of the second intifada, recalled how then-minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, who spearheaded efforts to reach a cease-fire, was left helpless and at the mercy of the policies implemented by the army’s senior commanders.
Ben-Ami wrote of how goods that were specifically earmarked for the Palestinian population were held up at checkpoints; how bulldozers tore up greenhouses, gardens and orchards under the pretext of security; and how Palestinian rage mounted until it reached an unprecedented boiling point. He stated that the policy of collective punishment and the imposition of economic hardships – which did nothing to serve the nonmilitary echelon’s efforts to forge a cease-fire – were the courses of action dictated by the military echelon, which at that point in time totally ignored the directives and aims of the political leadership.
Ya’alon would later label that policy as one that would be “seared into the minds” of the Palestinians.