Thursday, February 24, 2005

On the day that I returned to Israel an important step was taken by the Israeli government in the direction of a possible end to our occupation of Gaza ( and let's hope of more of the occupied territories ). Also the name of the IDF's new chief of staff was announced. For the first time a former commander of what some consider to be the best airforce in the world will head the Israeli army. Because of Dan Halutz' reputation as being quite rightwing ( and because he made some highly questionable remarks after several civilians were killed together with one of the heads of Hamas ) and because he will become - as one newspaper labeled him already - "the chief of staff of the disengagement", suddenly the outgoing chief of staff, Moshe Ya'alon, has become the champion of many on both the Right and the Left. I really do not know what to say about either Halutz or Ya'alon. One thing I found interesting. The other day I heard someone say half jokingly that with one of the two biggest challenges facing the new head of the army being Iran's nuclear capability ( the other being the implementation of the disengagement plan ) it is remarkable that we have three men of Persian descent on central posts: president Moshe Katsav, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and now also the army's chief of staff, Dan Halutz. That the latter used to be the head of the IAF could very well be decisive when it comes to making decisions regarding the perceived threats from Teheran.

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