Wikileaks: IDF Intelligence Chief Boasts Assassinating Hamas Leaders Will ‘Change Paradigm’ Two Weeks Before Cast Lead
Former U.S Rep. Robert Wexler may be a liberal pro-Israel sycophant, but thank God he visited IDF intelligence chief two weeks before Operation Cast Lead began along with a U.S. embassy staffer. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this rich portrait of Israeli thinking just prior to the Israeli assault on Gaza. The cable was written on December 8, 2008 and the war commenced on December 27th. In the cable, Amos Yadlin‘s comments are paraphrased:
Yadlin…advocates taking a “much tougher” approach to Gaza.
Hamas’ control of Gaza provides an opportunity. Since the terrorists are now the government, Israel knows which terrorist is sitting in what office and where their homes are. They have come out of hiding and into the open, so the IDF can identify and find them. Yadlin warned that if the shelling of Israeli communities from Gaza continues, Israel can “use this card” against Hamas. It will “change the paradigm,” he concluded.
While Yadlin did not use the phrase “targeted assassinations,” it was clear from the context that he is advocating this approach to countering the threat from Hamas.
It should be remembered that Israel did assassinate several of Hamas’ top political leaders and cabinet members during the massacre along with 1,100 civilians, among them 300 children. But funny thing, it didn’t “change the paradigm.” I also find it astonishing that an IDF general briefing a U.S. Congress member accompanied by a U.S. embassy representative would boast, even implicitly, that it plans to assassinate Hamas leaders. That apparently didn’t ring any alarm bells for that good liberal Zionist, Rep. Wexler. I guess there are good assassinations and bad ones. Bad: Kennedy brothers, MLK. Good: anyone from Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, etc.
What seems strange to me is that Yadlin candidly informs Wexler that the Palestinians are only fourth on Israel’s threat index behind Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. If that’s the case, and I have no reason to doubt it, then why was it dragged into a war with its fourth most dangerous threat? To me, this indicates that Israel has no strategic thinking. It allows itself to be pushed and pulled by whatever is the most pressing threat of the moment. A rocket falls in Sderot? This is the existential threat of the day and must be addressed as if all Israel depended on eliminating it.
The IDF intelligence chief also betrays typical Israeli thinking by warning that the conflict cannot be resolved by directly addressing the major issues through final status negotiations:
If the parties attempt to move straight to resolving the conflict, the attempt will collapse and result in violence as in the start of the Second Intifada after the 2000 Camp David summit.
I’ve always thought of this argument as some sort of weird magical thinking. There is an assumption that the highest priority for life in the Middle East must be avoiding violence at all costs, rather than resolving the dispute between the two peoples so that there is no longer any reason for violence.
Wexler, who led Jewish outreach on behalf of the Obama campaign, left Congress afterward and now heads the Abraham Fund. You can get an idea of Wexler’s hopelessly tepid views in this cable by nothing that he clearly favors Bibi Netanyahu’s “economic” approach to “resolving” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an approach I’ve skewered here before. This is a bastion of the American Jewish liberal Zionist leadership.
17 thoughts on “Wikileaks: IDF Intelligence Chief Boasts Assassinating Hamas Leaders Will ‘Change Paradigm’ Two Weeks Before Cast Lead – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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So you think there ARE no “good assassinations”? So killing Osama (given that he was in fact guilty, not so sure), killing Sadam (same as above) – all these should be judged equally to killing JFK? Really? About Israeli strategic thinking, something tells me you know far from enough to judge it. Israel is there, after 60 years of COLLECTIVE attempts of its neighbours to destroy it. If that is not strategy, I don’t know what is. And yes, if someone is CONTINUING to fire rockets at my people (CIVILIAN TARGETS ONLY) after so many years, I’d also consider it a “good assassination”. And about why does it “go to war with its number four threat” – your argument is just totally deprived of logic, I hope that at least you realize how ridiculous it sounds. Israeli DEFENCE forces never attack. Iran has not yet as a country provoked israel, so IDF will act only upon aggression. THat’s were the name comes from, smartass. Lebanon hosted aggression, you saw what happened in 2006. Hamas launches aggression constantly. So… What kind of “strategic thinking” are you talking about at all?!?!?!
We didn’t need to murder Bin Laden since we’d captured him. What we did was murder him in cold blood when we could & should have put him on trial for crimes against humanity. You have a wee problem with historical facts since Saddam wasn’t assasassinated unless you consider the Iraqi justice that led to his execution an “assassination.”
What “something” tells you that? A little birdie? And how are you equipped to judge what I know about Israeli strategic thinking?
This guy has a case of historical amnesia. Israel never did a wrong thing in its life, did it?
YOUR people? Which people would that be? Israel’s Jewish people? Would it shock you to know that Hezbollah fired rockets that landed in the Israeli villages of citizens who aren’t YOUR people, Israeli Palestinians. But Israeli Palestinians aren’t YOUR people, are they? You see, there’s a short circuit in yr logic.
I had to transpose those two statements of yrs in order to do justice to the fiction contained in the first half of it.
Is that why, Meir Dagan’s Israel’s ex Mossad chief said that Bibi & Barak proposed attacking Iran a yr ago & that only Dagan & other military-intelligence senior officials stopped them? I guess you missed that story covered widely in the media of the country of YOUR people. Or are you a selective reader? Only read the JPost perhaps?
A word of warning. The comment threads are NOT a hasbara rooting section. So if you’ve come to engage the issues, the blog posts & debate them on substance, you’re in the wrong place. If all you want to do is score pts in the pro Israel propaganda crusade, go elsewhere.
Let me answer some of your questions:
1. “I guess there are good assassinations and bad ones.”
Yes. Killing terrorists is a good assassination. There is no question that Hamas leaders are terrorists, leading a group that believes the only solution to the conflict is to use any means of violence to bring about the destruction of Israel.
2. “why was it dragged into a war with its fourth most dangerous threat?”
Because Gaza started to shoot rockets into Israel at the rate of 70 rockets a day. To put it into numbers you can understand: that is the equivalent of Mexico shooting 3500 rockets a day into the US. No country can stand that.
3. “it didn’t “change the paradigm.” ”
Really? You don’t see them shooting 70 rockets a day now, do you?
4. “There is an assumption that the highest priority for life in the Middle East must be avoiding violence at all costs, rather than resolving the dispute”
You are distorting the argument, and I’m pretty sure it’s deliberate. The argument is that the conflict cannot be solved right now, so trying to do so will only make things worse. A lot has to change in the mentality of both sides before we can even have the chance to come to an agreement. For instance: to remind you, in 2005 the majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas, a group with an extremely Antisemitic ideology, so Antisemitic it would make even the Nazis blush. Do you really think there could be peace between Jews and anti-Semites? Only when we are convinced that the Palestinians have cleaned themselves from this Antisemitism, will we be able to make peace with them.
Then by that logic killing Israelis who kill Palestinians should be a good assassination as well. Which means that Rehavam Zeevi’s was a good assassination, right? Or not? Not, you say? Why am I surprised?
Not only is this a lie, but it is a lie that has been advanced here 100 times before by hasbarists just like you. So we’re not going to get into this stupid debate. And if re open it in your next comment you’ll lose yr comment privileges. Read the comment rules before commenting here again.
Because Israel first broke the ceasefire by bombing a Gaza tunnel & killing 6 Hamas activists in the process. Guess who broke the ceasefire first? Israel or Hamas? Right, Israel. Sorry, you lose this round.
Wait for the next war & we’ll see whether you’re still singin’ this tune. Hamas has as many or more rockets as it had before Cast Lead & will use them if it feels it must. And as soon as there is another war this will happen.
Really, in the last election a plurality of Israelis voted for parties with extremely anti-Semitic (that is, anti-Arab) ideologies (Likud, Yisrael Beitenu & those farther to the right). So who’s responsible for this hostile environment that precludes peace talks?
Bingo, major comment rule violation. You’ll be moderated & the next time you delve into this noxious territory you won’t be commenting here at all. Again, read the comment rules.
And to think this person has an e mail address denoting they study or teach at Tel Aviv University! Is this the thinking that one of Israel’s best institutions of higher learning produces? Let’s wonder what his field of study is? And if they’re producing hacks like this imagine how many others there like him earning PhDs there in Arab studies or Zionist history or whatever. I’ll be Arad heads the local Im Tirzu chapter on campus. How much you want to bet?
[comment deleted for comment rule violation, which state that the Hamas Charter has been argued and debated ad nauseam here and is not open to further debate or discussion]
I see that you have removed my post, rather than deal with it. Your “comment rules” use the tired demagogic trick of branding talks about the Hamas Charter “hasbara”.
“Hasbara”, my dear Richard, is a term we Israelis use to denote explaining our position to others. The Hamas Charter, however, is a lot more than that: it is the centerpiece of our point of view on Hamas, the first thing we Israelis bring into consideration when we talk amongst ourselves about how we should deal with Gaza, and whether peace is possible at this stage. So by refusing to acknowledge it, you are basically saying that the Israeli point of view in irrelevant when talking about Israel.
Understand this: when it comes to Hamas, the hardline is led by us, the leftwing intelligentsia. Our politicians are too dim to tell the difference between Hamas and PLO, and many of them think we should talk to Hamas. But while we push them to compromise with Abu Mazen, when it comes to Hamas we draw the line for them. There can be no compromise with ideological anti-Semites.
So you can keep on ignoring it, but you will get nowhere with us.
Like many words in Hebrew & other languages hasbara has a number of meanings. But it is primarily known not as “explanation” but rather as “propaganda.” In fact, the Israeli gov’t really doesn’t understand the diff. which is how the word has come to have both meanings. And don’t bother to “teach” me Hebrew since I’m quite fluent in it.
Of course it is the centerpiece of YOUR view of Hamas. As for Hamas, the Charter is irrelevant, having no meaning or standing whatsoever. No one in Hamas knows or cares about it. The only people who do are Palestinian haters like yrself who are looking for a propaganda edge. So we’ve discussed the Charter several score times here, which is why I deleted yr post & we won’t delve into this subject again ad nauseam despite the fact that you seem to have a hard-on to do so. So if that’s all you can think of, your contribution won’t be welcome here.
Contrary to what you think, the rest of the world doesn’t give a fig for your propaganda or hysteria or hyperventilation about the Hamas Charter or whatever it is that Hasbara Central dictates is the Talking Point Du Jour.
I’m not saying the Israeli point of view is irrelevant. The hasbara pt of view is irrelevant. Thankfully, not all Israelis think as narrowly as you & the rest of yr colleagues at Hasbara Central. BTW, could you convey drishat shalom to them fr all of us here?
I think you meant this ironically. Because if you’re the leftwing intelligentsia in Israel then North Korea is a friggin’ democracy. Actually, I believe you’re a total fraud & that you wish us to believe that you consider yrself the left wing intelligentsia. This is apparently a big game to you. But we don’t play games here. Fraud is grounds for immediate banning. If you can’t be transparent about who you are & what you believe you’re gone. Real gone.
As for getting anywhere with “you,” you must be kidding. Why should I care about getting anywhere with you? You stopped thinking a few millenia ago & an original thought hasn’t crossed yr mind for the last few centuries.
“As for Hamas, the Charter is irrelevant”
Then why don’t they revoke it?
Why don’t they at least announce it is irrelevant to them?
The peace process asks of Israelis to take a very big risk, and make our country vulnerable in many ways, to allow the Palestinians to have a sovereign life as well. If we are to take that risk, we need to know that the Palestinians no longer harbor such Antisemitic views. There is no way I can convince my countrymen, or even myself, that we can take the risk today.
When Hamas won the elections in 2005, I was actually glad. I thought that like our own rightwing, being in power would compel them to be more pragmatic, and so they will have to form a new ideology, and the Palestinians will finally be rid of the Hamas charter. But six years have passed, and they didn’t budge. Even with their people suffering under a blockade, they didn’t budge. All they have to do to lift this blockade is to declare that they recognize Israel’s right to exist, but they wouldn’t do it. They would rather let their own people suffer, than give up on their wish to destroy Israel. Why? There can be only one explanation: recognizing Israel’s right to exist would mean giving up on the core of their identity, an identity that believes Jews are the root of all evil in the world, and eradicating them is a holy mission.
“This is apparently a big game to you”
This is about my very existence, an existence that is being threatened. I am very scared. The middle-east is about to go nuclear, and nuclear weapons combined with Antisemitism and religious fundamentalism is a recipe for disaster. I am afraid we might be the cause of the apocalypse.
We can’t afford to play games, and we can’t afford to be dismissive about core issues. I have heard the view that “Hamas has changed” before, but I never saw any shred of evidence for it. They might have become more moderate on internal issues (an encouraging process, which seems to have taken over Islamist parties in recent years), but when it comes to Israel, I see no essential change.
I don’t know. It’s one of the great deep mysteries of the universe which I haven’t succeeded in unraveling & which don’t much bother me. I leave such anxieties to you & others who are charter members of Hamas Watch.
I never understand when people like you make such claims. You think it’s not a very big risk for those Israelis who’ve been killed in Israeli wars or terror attacks against Israel? You think that many more such people won’t be killed if Israel doesn’t make peace. I assure you that the risk is far more if you refuse to make peace than if you do. Here is what you risk if you continue refusal: everything. You risk the destruction of Israel. Are you prepared to take responsibility for Israel’s destruction? Because by refusing to make peace you ensure Israel’s eventual destruction. It’s as simple as that. I’ve never written things as explicitly as that, but I see it as true now.
You need to know no such thing. No more than Palestinians need to know that Israeli Jews don’t harbor Islamophobic or Islam-hating views. When you can assure me there are no such Israelis I’ll try to assure you there are no such Palestinians. In the meantime, whether or not Israeli Jews or Palesitnians are racists has absolutely no bearing on whether or not there can be peace bet. them.
Hamas has become more pragmatic. But more pragmatic for you isn’t pragmatic enough.
Why would they need to do that? Did the Irgun form a new ideology after 1948? Did the Founding Fathers who fought a Revolutionary War for U.S. independence change their ideology after winning the war? Why should they?
That’s nonsense. Yr own prime minister has never revealed what Hamas would need to do to get the siege lifted. And if he has you present evidence.
No senior Hamas leader in yrs has said Hamas wishes to destroy Israel. But when you can get Israel to give up on their wish to destroy Hamas, then we can talk. Till then, look in the mirror before you charge Hamas with wrong doing because you & yr own fellow citizens harbor views that mirror those of Hamas.
Now you have published an outright lie, which is forbidden in the comment rules. If you put forward another such lie you will be moderated. And I’ve got news for you, a document writting by some schnook in the dead of night in 1988 has no bearing on what anyone in Hamas believes now. So you provide proof of such statements by senior Hamas officials now or in the recent past or you don’t make such lying claims again. Do you understand??
NO, I’ll tell you what’s about yr very existence. Yr pig headedness at refusing to resolve this conflict is what will end yr existence one of these days along with those of your fellow Israelis. And just before that happens you will look skyward and lift yr hands and wonder why you did so little to change yr fate that you could have done. But by then it prob will be too late.
You either believe that Israel isn’t in the Middle East (since it has had nuclear weapons since at least 1967) or you are so confident in the righteousness of Israel that the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons doesn’t even enter yr consciousness. What you really mean to say is that those nasty Muzlims are about to get the bomb and how dare they? Well, there’s no proof whatsoever that Iran is “about to go nuclear.” And even if it did, Israel has 400 of ’em & somehow the world hasn’t come to an end. So while I’d prefer that no one in the M.E. have WMD, the fact that Israel does have them means that its enemies want them too. So when you renounce yr own weapons, then we’ll get every other Israeli enemy to do the same & then you can kill ea. other less lethally with spears and pruning hooks instead of WMD.
I’m not sure what this means. YOu can’t actually be admitting that ISRAEL might be the cause of the apocalypse, can you? If so, that would be awfully candid of you. But somehow I doubt that’s what you meant.
Making peace is exactly what I’m talking about. The two nations need to change a lot in their mentality before they can arrive at a peace deal. The people need to give up on many ideals and dreams, and sometimes on the very thing they consider to be the core of their existence. Some of these sacrifices are very painful, and people will never willfully commit to them, unless external pressure forces them, and unless they believe that the reward will be true peace.
Many Israelis once held the ideology of a “whole Israel”. Forcing them to give up on this ideology was very painful, and PM Rabin paid in his life for it. But if we didn’t do it, we could never have proceeded to the next compromises.
It was hard to get PM Netanyahu to commit to the two-states solution – it took a lot of internal and external pressure. But it was very important, because only now that the rightwing has admitted to itself that there will be a Palestinian state, can we proceed to open up the Jerusalem question. And it is not going to be easy.
It is also essential that all settlement activity will be halted. The settlements themselves are actually not a big problem – when we finally get to the peace accord, a solution will be quite easy. But their expansion causes the Palestinians to suspect Israel’s intentions, and so their moderates cannot get them to commit to the peace process and make the required sacrifices.
The only way we can get the Israeli government to halt the settlement is sustained pressure from the international community. The Palestinians are now insisting on it, and that’s good. If they persist, we will eventually prevail.
The same thing goes the other way round. The Palestinians will never be able to make the sacrifices required for peace, if so many of them still cannot even bring themselves to say that Israel has the right to exist. We must sustain the pressure on them, and we must make them understand that Antisemitic views, or views that deny Israel’s right to exist, are not acceptable. And we must hear them say it, or the Israeli people will not believe the Palestinians want peace, and will refuse to go towards them.
Israeli law forbids parties to run to the Knesset with a racist platform. I want to see something similar on the Palestinian side as well, something that at least acknowledges that Antisemitism is wrong.
A charter is a charter. As long as they are called Hamas, this is their main document, and it will be a sacrifice for them to give it up. They will surely not give it up when there is no pressure on them.
At the moment, they do not have the power to do what the charter decrees, so they don’t think much about it. But if they get the power in the future, and they don’t revoke or at least refute the charter beforehand, they will revive it. We cannot allow them to get any legitimacy or any power before they at least make statements that contradict their charter.
I am not the one who should provide proof here. There is a charter, and they refuse to revoke it. It is you who should provide proof that they are not doing so because they still believe in it.
Hamas belongs to what Arabs call “The Resistance”. When you inquire what exactly they are resisting, you find that they are mainly resisting “Zionist expansion plans”. I am not aware of any such plans, so why do they put so much effort in resisting them? Because they believe there is a secret Zionist scheme to take over the middle east. That’s close enough to Antisemitism.
When you listen to Arabs, you hear many of them truly believe that this is what Israel is all about, and that they are in danger as long as it exists. Many of them make “resistance” the very core of their existence, and regard destroying Israel as their life purpose. So the Hamas charter rests on some very solid popular beliefs, which inform the Arab mind. It is not some singular event in the past, as you try to depict it. We cannot allow the Palestinians to think that such beliefs are politically legitimate.
When Israel left Gaza, the plan was to turn it into a prosperous entity, living side by side with Israel. Everything was put on hold when Hamas took over, and refused to recognize Israel. If they do, then they are essentially the same as Fatah (as far as we are concerned, anyway), so we can go back to the original plan.
The terms to be considered a legitimate government were put before Hamas not by Israel, but by the so-called Quartet. They are: recognize Israel; denounce terrorism; recognize past agreements. The latter two are workable. It is the first that prevents Hamas from complying, and maintains the state of war, and thus the blockade.
If you think that demanding from them to recognize Israel is asking too much, then I wonder what “peace” you have in mind when you talk of peace.
Why would Hamas ever change if people like you are saying such things? When they hear that even Jews are willing to accept their views as legitimate, why would they not believe that eventually they would get the whole world to accept them as legitimate? And if such a belief exists, then how can the Palestinian moderates ever get their people to make the sacrifices needed for peace?
Sooner or later, the middle east will go nuclear. It is inevitable. It better reduce its level of Antisemitism before that.
Like you got Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist, when Israel recognized the right of Palestine to exist?
When there’s a nuclear standoff, anything can happen. But even if Israel doesn’t fire the first missile, you can be sure it will fire the second one. So yes, we will be at least partly the cause.
I’m not sure how the law is phrased & whether what you say is precisely correct. But there are numerous parties sitting in the Knesset including ones inspired by Kahane, which expound a racist party platform. I don’t see them expelled as Kahane once was.
It’s not “their main document.” YOu don’t even know what Hamas believes because you claim it stands for a 25 yr old doc no Hamas leader or member has ever read or believes in. It’s akin to saying that the Dred Scott decision is the law of the land in the U.S. Dred Scott was superceded by the Emancipation Proclamation & amendments giving Blacks citizenship.
You’re not aware of the settlements & their gradual expansion. You’re not aware of massive theft of Palestinian private land and turning it magically into Israeli state land, which is then used for settlements? You’re not aware that the Separation Wall consists of a massive land squeeze which places 15% of Palestinian territory on the wrong side of the line–another confiscation.
I have been patient & pointed out to you that this is a lie. I’ve challenged you to support it with a recent statement from a senior Hamas leader confirming it. YOu haven’t done so. The next time you lie about Hamas’ political agenda you will be moderated or banned.
This is racist, another comment rule violation. There is no more an “Arab mind” than there is a “Jewish mind” or a “Negro mind.” I understand you did not intend to be racist, but you will have to sensitize yrself right quick to how offensive yr attitudes are if you wish to continue commenting.
It is not yr job to forbid or permit Palestinians to think anything. Neither is it a Palestinians job to tell an Israeli Jew to think or not think anything. Why don’t you stay the hell out of ea other’s business & worry about the racism within yr own minds before obsessing about the racism in the other’s mind??
“The plan?” Whose plan? Israel’s? No. Perhaps James Wolfensohn who was an admirable man in many ways because he personally funded those Gaza greenhouses. But the problem was that Israel never negotiated with the Palestinians about its withdrawal.
You’re repeating yrself. Another comment rule is not to do so. Say a pt once & do not repeat it. Not only that but I told you Israel has never defined what it would take to end the siege which means you’re pontificating w/o any basis in fact. Until you become Israel’s PM, we won’t accept yr claims about what it will take for Israel to end the siege.
Hamas HAS changed & the fact that you don’t know that it has tells us you’re living in bubble. Have you ever read a credible book about Hamas? Taken a course? Even attended a lecture? Not a propaganda lecture, but a talk given by a credible figure? Have you ever read credible news sources about Hamas’ views on anything? I seriously doubt it.
Who says BIbi recognizes the right of Palestine to exist? Not as an independent country, that’s for sure. Perhaps as a bantustan, nominally independent within greater Israel.
There is no such thing as terrorism and terrorits. This is hasbara nonsense of the worst kind.
Murdering leaders of a popular resistance is a crime against humanity.
Better watch that, that’s what got me into “hot water” with Avi Issacharoff. He claimed my charge that murdering Gaza civilians when Gaza militant groups weren’t responsible for the Eilat attacks could be a war crime, was “off the wall.” That hurt so!
and still not a word about the terror attack in Tel Aviv 3 days ago…
Still not a word from you about the 18 Gazans killed by the IDF for doing nothing more than living under a regime Israel considers terrorist. Let me know when you’ll start giving a crap about dead Palestinians. Then we can talk.
Is now the time to raise the spectre of the Goldstone Report again? Or will there be more to come from this batch of cables?
It’s hard to believe that some commentators here are so naive as to take the words “Israeli Defense Force” at face value rather than in their Orwellian sense! Israel couches all of its attacks (and there are many) as “defense.” It is so obvious that the comment about this at the top of the blog today appears either disingenuous or (get this) machine-generated! I’m serious: This type of overt error characterizes computer understandings, so why not here? Is there a hasbara machine monitoring worldwide blogs and responding under program control? Does it use the identifier “You don’t need my name” because it does not have a name?