March 20, 2016

THE ADULTS IN THE ROOM:

Israel's generals and their troubled relationship with the elected cabinet (The Economist, Mar 14th 2016)

ALL is not well between Israel's cabinet and the generals who supposedly report to them. Major-General Herzl Halevi arrived at the Knesset on February 23rd for what was planned as a routine briefing for members of the defence committee of Israel's parliament. Instead, the chief of military intelligence delivered a stark warning. Despite efforts by the Palestinian militant movement Hamas to maintain the ceasefire around the Gaza Strip, he said, the lack of economic development in the coastal enclave, currently under joint Israeli and Egyptian blockade, would inevitably lead to humanitarian catastrophe and another round of violence between Israel and Gaza.

What General Halevi left unsaid is that there has long been disagreement on Gaza's future between Israel's government and its men and women in uniform. Going back as far as the bloody coup in 2007, when Hamas seized full control of Gaza (from which Israel withdrew in 2005), the generals and members of the National Security Council have advised the politicians to find ways to help Gaza's economy, opening up the blockade and building infrastructure, including a seaport there. The rationale is that better economic prospects would deter the Palestinians from firing missiles on Israeli towns. But successive Israeli governments, bolstered behind the scenes by neighbouring Egypt's enmity towards Hamas, have not been enthused by these proposals.

Posted by at March 20, 2016 8:10 AM

  

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