Turkel Commission pits Labor against Likud

Ya’alon allegedly slams Barak for ‘evading responsibility.’

yaalon office 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yaalon office 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Days after IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi attempted to quiet down accusations of blame surrounding Israel’s preparations for the May 31 Gaza flotilla, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) renewed the rancor by allegedly slamming Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s actions in the affair.
The Turkel Commission’s investigation into the incident – and Ya’alon’s purported comments – were at the center of a political uproar over the weekend, with Labor Party Dir.-Gen. Weitzman Shiri calling for Ya’alon’s removal.
The Y-net news Web site received reports Friday morning that Ya’alon had spoken out against his fellow minister during a condolence call in Ness Ziona, saying that “the events of the recent week strengthen what I said in the past about snakes at IDF headquarters.”
In 2005, after being forced to prematurely end his tenure as IDF chief of general staff, Ya’alon quipped that the reason he wore high boots as part of his uniform was because of all the “snakes at IDF headquarters.”
In what is already being nicknamed his “Snakes II speech,” Ya’alon allegedly said that Barak “did not allow anybody to be involved” in the planning for the flotilla’s arrival “and now he is placing responsibility on everyone else.”
Shiri, one of Barak’s closest confidants within the Labor Party, quickly jumped to his chairman’s defense, threatening a coalition crisis if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not take immediate steps toward Ya’alon’s removal.
Barak also received support from MK Majallie Whbee (Kadima), who accused Ya’alon himself of evading responsibility for the events of May 31.
“Instead of fleeing from responsibility, Lt.-Gen. [res.] Ya’alon should have demanded at the time that the prime minister and defense minister hold a more serious discussion regarding the flotilla,” complained Whbee.
“Instead of waiting for each of the leading government ministers to flee in turn from responsibility, they should just announce now that the only person responsible for all the problems is the gatekeeper at the entrance to the Flotilla 13 headquarters and, in doing so, redeem us all.”
But Coalition Chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) had choice words of his own for Shiri, retorting that he should instead “concentrate on first explaining to the MKs in his own party, who speak out and vote against the government on a weekly basis, the nature of collective responsibility.
“Even if Ya’alon’s comments were really made, they do not even approach the comments made daily by members of Shiri’s own party.”