Eiland urges probe of handling of conflict

Eiland calls for probe into the decision-making process before and during operations in the North.

eiland 248.88   (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
eiland 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The government's handling of the conflict in the North should be investigated, former national security adviser Giora Eiland told a Tuesday conference, entitled "Will Israel Win the War?" at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Eiland, who headed a team that investigated the events surrounding the kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, said a probe was needed to look into the decision-making process at the diplomatic level before and during the operations in the North. "I know there will be an IDF investigation, but I doubt there will be an investigation of the diplomatic process as there should have been with disengagement," Eiland said. Among the questions that Eiland would like to see answered in such an investigation include whether it was right to wait for an incident in the North before eliminating the threat from Hizbullah and whether it was in Israel's interest to encourage a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Eiland said recent history had proven that there were mistaken expectations in battles between countries and organizations regarding how long the conflict would last, how many casualties there would be, how many civilians would be harmed and whether one side would win such a clear victory that the other side would waive a white flag and give it everything it wanted. According to Eiland, the deaths of 57 civilians in Kafr Kana on Sunday ended hopes that the Lebanese would realize that eradicating Hizbullah would be in their best interest. Former IDF intelligence head Ya'acov Amidror said that only when substantial ground forces started operating in southern Lebanon on Tuesday did the most important stage of the conflict begin. Unlike cabinet ministers who have said the IDF only needed a few more days to complete its mission, Amidror said it could take up to six weeks to capture southern Lebanon and "clean it up." Amidror said Israel should not accept an international force in southern Lebanon unless it was made up of countries with military experience, it was not under the control of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, it was formed after Israel had complete control of southern Lebanon and it acted to dismantle Hizbullah and prevent it from receiving weapons from Syria. Former OC Ground Forces commander Yiftah Ron-Tal said the operations in the North proved that a guerrilla force cannot be defeated with airpower, that ground forces were necessary to control territory and that the Knesset was wrong to pass bills aimed at gradually eliminating compulsory reserve duty. BESA head Prof. Efraim Inbar suggested that Israel should take advantage of the operations in the North to bring Syria into the conflict and eliminate its missile threat. He said Israel should give the Syrians an ultimatum to stop supporting terrorism as Turkey did to stop Syria from supporting the Kurdish PKK militia.