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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria was "utter nonsense" from a security perspective, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yiftah Ron-Tal, at the time OC Ground Forces, said Thursday.
Speaking to Army Radio, Ron-Tal said: "Today it's obvious to everyone - at the time it was perhaps under debate - that this was an event that, besides being rough, was simply utter nonsense from a security perspective."
Ron-Tal further described the pullout as a "terrible event." He said he had opposed the plan "in the deepest sense of the word," security-wise, belief-wise and on the national level, and that he had let this opposition be known.
But, he said, he realized several months before the actual operation that it was going to happen, and decided that in the end, he would carry out the orders he was given.
"There was a lot of pain," he said. "Pretty early on I decided to fight from the position I was in. It was an important enough position to fight from, and my voice was heard in all the relevant [forums]. But when you weigh the issue, the alternative [to carrying out the orders] is worse."
Ron-Tal's difficult situation was compounded by the fact that his son Omri was living with his family in the Gaza settlement of Shirat Hayam, and he knew that he would have to evacuate him.
He said he felt tortured in the period leading up to the operation and did not sleep at night, but added that he felt his decision was the right one.
"I can't imagine a situation in which the state is unable to carry out the decisions it makes," he said. Therefore, after careful consideration and consultations, including with various rabbis, he said, "I think I did the right thing."
"And the most important thing," he said, "is that we learn our lesson."