Halutz: The Golan Heights is not indispensable

Halutz says Israel may have to pay "a real price for a real peace;" MK Eldad slams former IDF chief.

Golan Heights 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski  [file])
Golan Heights 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
"Theoretically and realistically, Israel can get along without [former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.] Dan Halutz," MK Arye Eldad (NU/NRP) said Saturday evening, mocking Halutz's earlier comments that the Golan Heights is not indispensable to Israel. "Israel must pay heed, and do something if it doesn't want to return to the failures of the Second Lebanon War," of which, according to Eldad, Halutz is "a lawful patriarch." "In that war," the MK continued, "Halutz was exposed as someone who does not understand anything of the basic principles of war, and accordingly Israel saw that it didn't need his advice [anymore]." Halutz had said earlier on Saturday that it would pe painful to give up the Golan Heights as part of a peace agreement with Syria, though it is a possibility. "The thought of ceding the Golan Heights gives me a bellyache, but for real peace one must be willing to pay a real price. Theoretically, Israel can do without the Golan," said Halutz during a cultural event in Beersheba, Saturday. Halutz refused to divulge whether he knew about the negotiations held for the past year between Syria and Israel with Turkish mediation since their inception began or whether he only came to know of them following the Prime Minister's Office statement last week. Halutz said that ceding the Golan was a "mental and cultural" problem, since the State of Israel now held its current borders for longer than its previous borders. "A whole generation of Israelis grew up with the Golan Heights being part of Israel - it is a problem to entertain the notion of parting with the Heights," he continued. On Wednesday, Israel and Syria announced that the two countries were resuming peace talks after an eight-year break. The former IDF chief also mentioned the situation in the South, specifically the continuous rocket and mortar barrage on the western Negev. He said that when he was IDF chief, he recommended responding forcefully to the first projectile attacks from the Gaza Strip, after the disengagement and withdrawal from the area. "We didn't carry out any operations - and this is the result. We didn't stand by our declaration," he added. He advocated taking action in order to ease the lives of Gaza-border community residents, adding that the situation in the South is more pressing than the Iranian threat.