| Moshe Yaalon |
Kiryat Haim, Israel
Moshe Yaalon (b. June 24, 1950) is a former General in the Israeli military. He was appointed Chief of Staff on July 9, 2002, and served in that position until June 1, 2005, during which time he led the army’s suppression of the al-Aqsa Intifada launched in September 2000. He is currently a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Head of Military Intelligence
According to Tanya Reinhart, Yaalon opposed a number of senior intelligence officials who supported the Oslo peace process during his tenure as head of the Aman military intelligence organisation:
- But gradually, such voices were silenced. A dominant figure emerging during these years is Major-General Moshe Ya’alon, who is also known for his connections with the settlers. As head of the military intelligence – Am’an – between 1995 and 1998, Ya’alon confronted the chief of staff, Amnon Shahak, and has consolidated the anti-Oslo line which now dominates the military intelligence view.
Charges of War Crimes
He currently faces a class action lawsuit brought against him by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the survivors of the Qana Massacre in 1996, which he oversaw. He had already participated in two earlier invasions of Lebanon, and latter on he went on to command the Israeli forces in the Israeli occupied West Bank.
In late 2006, Ya'alon was in New Zealand on a private fund-raising trip organised by the Jewish National Fund. An Auckland District Court Judge issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes arising from his role in the 2002 assassination of Hamas leader Salah Shahadeh in Gaza City, in which at least 14 Palestinian civilians were killed, saying that New Zealand had an obligation to uphold the Geneva Convention. The Attorney-General of New Zealand, Michael Cullen, overruled the warrant after advice from the Crown Law office that there was insufficient evidence.
Ya'alon's public pronouncements have been controversial. On August 27, 2002, he told Ha'aretz, "The Palestinian threat harbours cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it's necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy." *
Despite his hawkishness, Ya'alon's tenure was cut short when his aggressive deputy Aluf Dan Halutz started showing promise as an even more hawkish alternative. In February 2005, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz made the controversial decision not to prolong Ya'alon's service as Chief of Staff for another year. This marked the climax of tensions between Mofaz and Ya'alon, which had arisen partly through Ya'alon's objection to the Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Ya'alon 37 year service in the Israeli military ended on June 1, 2005.
- Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center Institute for International and Middle East Studies. - Distinguished Fellow
- Washington Institute for Near East Policy - Fellow
- Committee on the Present Danger
- Biography from Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- The IDF and the Israeli Spirit, essay in Azure magazine.
- Tanya Reinhart, Israel: The Military in Charge?, OpenDemocracy, 24 May 2002.
- Government overrules war-crimes arrest order, New Zealand Herald, December 3, 2006.
- Ex-Israeli army chief praises NZ for wiping arrest warrant, New Zealand Herald, December 3, 2006.
- Ari Shavit, "The enemy within" (part 1), Ha'aretz, August 27, 2002
- Ari Shavit, "The enemy within" (continued), Ha'aretz, August 27, 2002