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Uproar in Israeli Intelligence

The last two weeks, Israel witnessed a stormy debate that should
have shaken the very foundations of the state. The former chief of Army Intelligence, General (ret.) Amos Malka broke his silence of many years and published a thunderous accusation: that Amos Gilad [chief of the Army Intelligence Research Section] arrived at his "kontseptsia" [that the Palastinian Leadership didn't want peace] without any intelligence basis whatsoever.
Avnery about the crumbling of the "No Partner" mantra

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033  http://www.gush-shalom.org/

Uri Avnery 19.6.04

"Irreversible Mental Damage"

Two weeks ago, the international community made a shocking declaration.
Giving in to a demand by George Bush, the "Quartet" accepted the
"Revised Disengagement Plan" of Ariel Sharon. This means that the
United Nations, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the
United States confirmed this document. I wonder if any one of the
honorable diplomats has read the document with their own eyes.
In the first paragraph of the "plan", the following words
appear: "Israel has come to the conclusion that at present, there is
no Palestinian partner with whom it is possible to make progress on a
bilateral peace process."
That is to say, the international community has confirmed that
the Palestinian people has no right to take part in the determination
of its own fate. Everything will be decided by the Government of
Israel alone, with the backing of the United States, whose position
will be automatically accepted by the other partners of the "Quartet".
The European Union with its 25 member-states, the government of
the Russian Federation and the organization that represents the
entire world have humbly accepted the edict of Bush, the dictator of
the world, who is himself a captive of Sharon. Sharon decided long
ago that the elected president of the Palestinian people is
"irrelevant", together with the whole Palestinian leadership.
The Palestinian people have been eliminated from the list of
decision-makers, thereby also abolishing in practice all the
agreements signed with them, from Oslo to the Road Map.
This is a scandalous step, unprecedented in its dimensions, and
it passed without comment. Apart from Sharon and his minions, nobody
noticed the implications. The big boot of the international community
trod on the Palestinian people without even noticing it, as if on an
ant. That is the culmination of a process that began with the
return of the then Prime minister, Ehud Barak, from the 2000 Camp
David summit. After the failure of that meeting, he coined the mantra
that has since become the cornerstone of the policy of successive
Israeli governments: "I have turned every stone on the way to peace /
I have offered the Palestinians more generous proposals than any of
my predecessors / The Palestinians have rejected all my offers /
Arafat wants to throw us into the sea / We have no partner for peace."
This mantra is based on a series of lies that have been exploded
long ago. American eye-witnesses like Rober Malley, President
Clinton's advisor at Camp David, as well as some of the Israeli
participants and international researchers have published detailed
reports that prove that Barak himself was responsible for the failure
at least as much as Arafat -in fact, far more.
And as if by coincidence, just when the international community
absent-mindedly accepted that the Palestinian people is not a partner
for peace, in Israel itself things are happening that turn everything
upside down.
The High Priest of the "We Have No Partner" creed is General
(ret.) Amos Gilad, who at the crucial time was chief of the research
section (and as such the No. 2) of the Army Intelligence Department.
Since army intelligence is the department solely responsible for the
"national security assessment", it has a decisive influence on the
formation of national policy.
The army intelligence man reports directly to the Prime Minister
and takes part in cabinet meetings. No minister would dare to
question his assessments, which are the guiding star of the entire
state. The research chief of the intelligence department is supposed
to submit a professional summary of the huge amount of data amassed
by the intelligence community. Most ministers are forbidden to read
the written report, and even the few others are allowed only to
glance at it. Therefore, the oral summary presented by the chief of
research to the Prime Minister and the cabinet is of paramount
Amos Gilad went even further: he appeared almost daily in the
media, commenting on almost every political and security event. He
was not only the "national assessor", but also the "national
explainer", as he was commonly called in the media.
Who is this man, who has had a greater influence than any other
person on the policies of Israel over the last few crucial years, and
whose kontsepsia (Hebrew for "conception") is still directing the
path of the state? This is the very same Amos Gilad who some days ago
claimed for himself the benefits due to disabled army veterans. He
was not wounded in battle, God forbid, but claimed that the stress
caused by his difficult job has inflicted on him irreversible mental
This claim involves a considerable amount of Chutzpah, if not
worse. But it also raises the question: This mental damage, when did
it start? When were the first symptoms observed? Was it when he
started endlessly repeating that Arafat wants to throw us into the
sea? Or was this declaration, perhaps, itself a symptom of his mental
problem? And how can he continue to fulfill his present duties?
The last two weeks, Israel witnessed a stormy debate that should
have shaken the very foundations of the state.
The former chief of Army Intelligence, General (res.) Amos
Malka, who was the direct superior of Gilad, broke his silence of
many years and published a thunderous accusation: that Amos Gilad
arrived at his "kontseptsia" without any intelligence basis
whatsoever. On the contrary, the huge amount of information collected
by the intelligence department indicated the very opposite. That is
to say, Gilad freely invented his intelligence reports, based on his
political views and/or on the desire to please his political bosses,
Barak and Sharon.
This grave accusation raised a storm in professional circles.
Intelligence operatives of undoubted integrity emerged from their
anonymity in order to support Malka publicly. They were headed by the
man who, at the relevant time, was in charge of the Army Intelligence
section for Palestinian affairs, Colonel Ephraim Lavie, who was then
responsible for the collection of all intelligence material about the
Palestinian leadership. There is no doubt that in the professional
confrontation between Amos and Amos, Amos Malka emerged as the victor.
This means, in simple words: there was no intelligence material
at all backing the assertion that Arafat is working for the
destruction of the State of Israel, that Arafat had broken off the
peace process in order to start a terror campaign, that Arafat is not
ready for a reasonable compromise. All these assertions, uttered by
diverse Israeli politicians and generals, were based on the
"assessment" of one man who, while appearing to represent the
intelligence department, was actually suppressing the considered
professional reports of his own department, as well as of the General
Security Service (Shabak).
When the debate heated up, the orientalist Matti Steinberg, a
former advisor on Palestinian affairs to the chief of the Shabak,
joined the fray. Steinberg not only confirmed that Gilad's
"kontseptsia" was completely false and contradicted the intelligence
material assembled by his own people, but he also asserted that
Gilad's conception "fulfilled its own prophecy".
Since Israel is immeasurably stronger than the Palestinians, its
actions create reality. The acts guided by Gilad's "kopntseptsia"
created results that suited it. Much as the "kontseptsia" of Eli
Za'ira, the intelligence chief at the time of the Yom Kippur war,
resulted in catastrophe, thus the "kontseptsia" of Amos Gilad caused
- and is still causing - the disasters of the present intifada.
(The 1973 intelligence conception was that Egypt would not dare
to attack Israel, causing all the glaringly obvious signs to the
contrary to be ignored, thus preventing adequate preparations and
resulting in the death of 3000 Israeli soldiers. Since than the
Hebrew word "kontseptsia" has assumed an almost obscene connotation
in Israel.)
As of now, Gilad's immediate superior (Malka) and his immediate
subordinate (Lavie) both accuse him of presenting his personal
opinions, which were unsupported by any intelligence backing, as if
they were the official assessment of the intelligence services.
Gilad has caused irreversible damage. His mantra was accepted by
the vast majority of Israelis, as well as a large part of
international public opinion. Its exposure in professional circles
will not alter this fact. Indeed, the recent decision of the
"Quartet" shows how deeply entrenched this lie has become throughout
the world.
By the way, these revelations show that the secret assessment of
the highest professional echelons of the Army Intelligence Department
and Shabak were practically identical with the assessments published
at the time by Gush Shalom, which were met with total disbelief by
the media and the public, including a large part of the "peace camp".
To wit, that the Palestinian leadership, headed by Arafat, has never
wavered from its readiness to make peace with Israel based on the
creation of a Palestinian state on 97% of the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip (which together make 22% of historic Palestine), with
territorial compensation for the remaining 3% and sovereignty over
East Jerusalem and the Haram-al-Sharif ("Temple Mount"). The refugee
problem would be solved by agreement with Israel (meaning: Israel
will have a veto on any solution).
The experts of army intelligence and the security service, too,
agree that Arafat has not wavered from this position. On this basis,
peace can be achieved even now, as Arafat himself confirmed this week
in a fascinating interview with the new editor of Haaretz, David
Ariel Sharon denies this, of course, because he is not ready for
peace on these terms. He wants to annex at least 55% of the West
Bank, hoping that the life of the Palestinians in the remaining 45%
will become so impossible that they will leave the country of their
own accord. Shimon Peres is eager to help him in the realization of
this design.
For that, Sharon needs the "We Have No Partner" mantra. Amos
Gilad delivered the goods. Now the "Quartet" has accepted it,
bringing shame on itself and obstructing the search for peace.