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State charges border policeman with manslaughter in death of Palestinian minor
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11.23.2014 | 1 Kislev, 5775
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NADAV SHEMER \
Ashkenazi denies knowledge of 2007 Syria strike
Syrian Reactor 370.
Former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi denied knowledge on Tuesday of Israel’s
alleged bombing of a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007.“I woke up this
morning to radio and newspaper reports that the IDF bombed the Syrian reactor in
2007,” Ashkenazi said at the annual Calcalist conference in Tel Aviv. “I have no
idea what they are talking about, but I do know that not everything must be
spoken about.”The New Yorker published details of the raid on
Monday.The article’s author, David Makovsky spoke to Army Radio about
the strikes, saying that Israel kept the matter quiet because it did not want to
“put Assad in a corner.”“If he can deny the existence of the reactor, he
doesn’t need to react,” explained Makovsky, former editor-in-chief of The
Jerusalem Post.Ashkenazi, now chairman of Shemen Oil, told the
conference that the Arab Spring has not ended and that nobody is immune to its
consequences.What is certain, he said, is that the disappearance of
Syria’s Assad regime – when it occurs – will cause Iran to lose its only Middle
Eastern ally and force Hezbollah to act with more restraint. This will be the
case even if a radical Islamic regime takes over Syria, Ashkenazi
said.In an attempt to demonstrate the Egyptian reality, Ashkenazi
recalled a visit to Israel last year by former Egyptian president Hosni
Mubarak’s former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. When the Israelis asked him
how he could be so certain that Mubarak’s son would replace him as leader – in a
conversation before Mubarak was deposed in February 2011 – Suleiman said: “In
Egypt it does not matter who votes, it matters who counts the
ballots.”Addressing the issue of Iran, Ashkenazi said the public should
view the defense budget as “an investment.” He recommended maintaining the peace
agreements with Egypt and Jordan and making every effort to reach a solution
with the Palestinians, even if Israel has a problem with the partner on the
other side.“We must institutionalize the idea of two states – it is
essential for the state, and after 64 years we are strong and secure enough to
define our borders,” he said.The other diplomatic and security
priorities listed by Ashkenazi were protecting Israel’s special relationship
with the US, restoring relations with Turkey and addressing the “insufferable
reality” in which only a minority of people carry the burden of national
service.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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