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(photo credit: IDF)
The development of new operational procedures and the establishment of a new mechanism for approving operations in the West Bank were decided upon Sunday during a meeting between Defense Minister Amir Peretz, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, following Thursday's botched Ramallah raid.
Naveh came under harsh criticism over the last few days from diplomatic officials in Jerusalem, who claimed that the IDF should have taken into consideration and even foreseen the effect the operation in Ramallah would have on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt on Thursday.
On Monday morning, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi reiterated that the timing of the raid had been inappropriate. Three Palestinians were killed during the raid and another 30 were wounded.
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On Sunday, a high-ranking officer in the Central Command took responsibility for the outcome of the operation and admitted that it was a mistake. The operation was approved by Naveh and Judea and Samaria Division head Brig.-Gen. Yair Golan.
According to procedures stipulated by the General Staff, Naveh and Golan are authorized to approve such operations and do not have to take them to Halutz or Peretz for approval.
Following the meeting Sunday night in Jerusalem, however, Peretz asked the IDF to establish a new mechanism for approving operations in the West Bank, one that would put the chief of General Staff - and even the defense minister, in some cases - inside the decision-making loop.
"There need to be new procedures and mechanisms for approving operations," said a senior defense official. "The IDF needs to take a variety of considerations into account, including the location of the operation, the timing and if there are any sensitive diplomatic events taking place at the same time."
According to the official, Peretz did not criticize the operation itself or the management of commanders on the ground, but rather the decision-making process that led to the operation and ignored the effect it could have on the Olmert-Mubarak meeting.
"When there is a diplomatic event like the meeting in Egypt, then the smallest operation becomes a big deal," the defense official said, adding that the IDF would formulate the new mechanism and present it to Peretz in the coming days.
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