Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yaalon: Tel Aviv a 'Settlement'

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Yaalon: Tel Aviv a 'Settlement'

Ex-IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon came out swinging Saturday night in his new role as Likud politician. Arabs view all Israelis as "settlers," including those in Tel Aviv, he said in his first public political meeting since he announced this past week that he is running for a seat in the Knesset. Media, both in Israel and outside the country, have used the term "settler," often disparagingly, to define Jews living in Judea and Samaria, differentiating them from other Israelis. However, Yaalon pointed out, "Israeli Arabs, with four documents that they wrote over the past two years, are actually rejecting our right to an independent Jewish state. We [al are settlers, as far as they are concerned."

Yaalon was Chief of Staff under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who took the unusual step of not extending his term of office. The primary reason was Yaalon's doubts about the practicality of the "Disengagement" plan that resulted in the destruction of a Jewish presence in the Gaza and northern Samarian regions and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops in Gaza and along the Philadelphi smuggling route.

Yaalon, whose joining the Likud has boosted the party in pre-election polls, declared that the government's approach towards an agreement with the Palestinian Authority is a failure because it aims for a solution to a problem that has not been defined.

"A particular solution is being forced on us," he stated. "We want peace now, food now, everything now, as if this is fast food and fast peace, and along the way we have lost much of our spirit, our power and our deterrence."

We want peace now, food now, everything now, as if this is fast food and fast peace, and along the way we have lost much of our spirit, our power and our deterrence.

He also took a swipe at Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, charging that she has not proven that is a leader. Commenting on her Kadima party's campaign poster stating 'Livni: What's good for the State,' he commented, "I see signs in the street selling spin, trying to defraud us again, with some sort of depiction that I see as lacking any essence.

"When did she actually withstand a test of leadership? She didn't do so during the Second Lebanon War, not during the actual decision-making process and not as regards UN Security Council Resolution 1701."

Jabotinsky's Grandson Joins Likud

The Likud party, which already has taken a commanding lead in pre-election polls, is adding another "star," Zev Jabotinsky, whose grandfather by the same name was one of the leading Zionists before the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

In the past two weeks, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu has brought in Yaalon, former police chief Asaf Hefetz and former Knesset Member Benny Begin, the son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Several weeks ago, former assistant Chief of Staff Uzi Dayan, who has been behind an ongoing media campaign to win the freedom of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, also joined the Likud.

Polls published before Thursday and Friday give the Likud a certain majority coalition of nationalist and religious parties in the next Knesset. Kadima is barely holding on to its current strength but has done so as the expense of the Labor party's, which has sunk to the point that the party will win as few as eight seats, according to the surveys.

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