New Israeli defense minister eyes all occupied territories



Agence France Presse

Published — Monday 18 March 2013

Last update 18 March 2013 5:01 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

JERUSALEM: Israel’s new Defense Minister Moshe “Boogie” Yaalon is a military veteran and staunch rightwinger known for his support of the Jewish settler movement, but who has taken a more moderate stance on Iran.
Through a long military career, Yaalon burnished his image as a hard-liner who backs the idea of a Greater Israel encompassing all of the occupied Palestinian territories.
He made a name for himself by opposing Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and has spoken out forcefully against any freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
But while scornful of Palestinian statehood aspirations, the bespectacled 62-year-old has shown signs of caution over committing the military to combat, including plans for a recent ground operation in Gaza.
Yaalon made no secret of his ambition to become defense minister since joining the rightwing Likud and entering politics in November 2008.
Shortly after becoming chief of staff in 2002, he described the Palestinian uprising as a “cancer” and said he was applying “chemotherapy.” He has referred to Israel’s Peace Now settlement watchdog as a “virus” and his overt support for the settlements has sometimes embarrassed the government.
“I, for one, a.m. not afraid of the Americans. There are issues on which one should say ‘that’s enough’,” he said, insisting that Jews have a rightful claim to all of the Land of Israel — a term which includes the Palestinian territories.
“I believe that Jews have the right to live anywhere in the Land of Israel for ever,” he said.
As defense minister, Yaalon will enjoy huge power to advance the settler movement, with both new construction and the dismantling of existing outposts unauthorized by the government falling under his authority.
“We are very much concerned about the prospect of him as defense minister,” Peace Now’s Hagit Oran told AFP.
“The role of the minister of defense is crucial for settlement issues because every step must be approved by the minister and often can be done without the knowledge of other people in government,” she said.
But from a military perspective, Yaalon has demonstrated caution.
Born in 1950 in the northern port city of Haifa, Yaalon performed his compulsory military service between 1968 and 1971, returning to active duty as a paratrooper during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
After serving in an elite commando unit in the 1970s and 80s, Yaalon became military intelligence chief in the mid-1990s, then head of the army’s central command with responsibility for the West Bank, before being named chief of staff.
Yaalon headed the military for three years, but following his opposition to the Gaza pullout in 2005, his appointment was not extended for the usual fourth year.
He is married with three children.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
RIYADH: Plans are underway to shift the labor dispute commission in the Ministry of Labor to the Ministry of Justice. Related discussions were held here Thursday between Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani.The disc...
JEDDAH: Drifting has taken a heavy toll of young men who spent their time and energy in the pursuit of this dangerous game for lack of family awareness and guidance.Observers said that the last decade witnessed a dramatic increase in traffic accident...
RIYADH: A mass brawl between migrant workers at a company along Al-Thumama Road broke out in Riyadh on Thursday, causing the death of one worker and the burning of two police vehicles.A Riyadh police source said authorities received a report on Thurs...
JEDDAH: Thousands of expatriates living in Jeddah, who are non-Arabic speakers, were excited about the monthlong 36th Jeddah Festival.The Jeddah and summer festivals this year had a number of theatrical events, entertainment programs, fireworks, arti...
MADINAH: In a tragic Madinah incident, two children died and a woman was injured in a fire which broke out in a house.Capt. Naif bin Mohammad Al-Juhani, spokesman for Civil Defense, said the control room received information about the fire incident i...
JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco said it has financed building 63,000 houses for Saudis through the citizen house owning program implemented by the company. The company said it has granted 1,037 loans to Saudis to build new houses in 2014, stressing that this pr...
RIYADH: A special team of officials from the Ministry of Health, led by Deputy Minister Hamad Aldhwilaa, visited hospitals in the southern border area to ensure that services are available to serve patients in the Asir, Jazan and Najran regions.On ar...
DAMMAM: On April 30 1935, drilling started on test well No. 1 in Dammam. After seven months, only gas was found with traces of oil at a depth of 700 meters. So it had to be plugged. Drilling began on Dammam well No. 2 on Feb. 8, 1936, and started pro...
JEDDAH: A team of doctors at King Abdul Aziz Hospital carried out emergency life-saving surgery on a Kazakh pilgrim who was suffering from a rare disease, on the night of Eid Al-Fitr, according to a website.The 17-year-old Kazakh pilgrim was brought...
JEDDAH: Members of sector committees affiliated with the Council of Saudi Chambers have tried to reach a settlement with the Ministry of Labor that would allow laborers to work on their projects during the day.The attempt was made based on an agreeme...
JEDDAH: The increase in school fees has caused parents to remove their children from private schools and enroll them in public schools in Madinah.With the approaching new school year, many parents were surprised to find that school fees were increase...
RIYADH: The size of the tourism industry has crossed the SR100-million mark with around 130 organizations in the field and the revenues generated through festivals are approximately SR11 billion annually, experts have said. The figures have been prov...
JEDDAH: A total of 105 pay-and-park areas have been opened in the city, including Jeddah historical district, downtown market place, Bab Makkah, Al Andalus Street and Palestine Street.Hani Ahmad Abdullah, media spokesperson for Jeddah Municipality, s...
RIYADH: Moroccan Ambassador Abdussalam Baraka has praised “excellent” trade and bilateral relations between his country and Saudi Arabia and expected the ties to grow further.Speaking on the occasion of Morocco’s National Day on Thursday night, the e...

Stay Connected

Facebook