Ha'aretz, 10 June 2004
Military Intelligence presented erroneous assumption on Palestinians
By Akiva Eldar
Major General Amos Gilad, head of Military Intelligence's research
division when violence erupted in October 2000, persuaded the cabinet to
accept an erroneous view of the cause of the violence, and hence the
mistaken conclusion that there is no Palestinian partner for peace,
according to Major General Amos Malka, who served as the director of MI
at the time.
Malka told Haaretz that Gilad, who today heads the Defense Ministry's
diplomatic-security unit, was "a very significant factor in persuading a
great many people... [yet] in all the time that I served as head of MI, the
research division did not produce so much as a single document expressing
the assessment that Gilad claims to have presented to the [then] prime
minister [Ehud Barak]. I assert that only after the Taba talks were halted,
on the eve of the 2001 election, did Gilad begin to retroactively rewrite
Gilad's assessment, which was adopted by the country's political and
defense leadership, was that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat
never abandoned the dream of realizing a right of return for Palestinian
refugees, and that his plan was to eradicate the state of Israel by
demographic means. The current director of MI, Major General Aharon
Ze'evi (Farkash), and former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy share this
But Malka and other senior intelligence officials dispute Gilad's analysis,
saying that it is not supported by any of the documents produced by any of
Israel's intelligence agencies.
Gilad, however, believes that his verbal assessments trump the written
record. "If I put oral presentations on one side of the scales, and written
assessments on the other, the scales will unequivocally tip in favor of the
oral presentations," he told Haaretz. "What influences the leaders are the
oral presentations - because they don't read."
Malka's criticism of Gilad, which challenges the conventional wisdom of
both the leadership and the Israeli public, is shared by Colonel (reserves)
Ephraim Lavie, the research division official responsible for the Palestinian
arena at that time and Gilad's immediate subordinate. From what Lavie said
and wrote following his retirement from the Israel Defense Forces, it is
evident that he considers the prevailing Israeli theory of the intifada's
causes to be mistaken. In his view, the theory that the Camp David summit
exposed Arafat as someone who is uninterested in peace and who aims at
Israel's destruction has no basis.
This view is also shared by Ami Ayalon, who headed the Shin Bet security
service until a few months before the intifada began, and Orientalist Mati
Steinberg, who until last year served as a special advisor on Palestinian
affairs to the head of the Shin Bet.
Asked about these divergent views, Gilad responded: "I would have no
problem if 1,000 people thought differently than I. That still doesn't mean
that they're right."
An extened article on the issue is expected in tomorrow's Ha'aretz
"With the outbreak of the Intifada it became indisputably clear that Israel is not a state that has a military but rather a military that has a state," wrote Ben Caspit in Ma'ariv describing the circumstances leading to the outbreak of the present Intifada in September 2000 (http://www.jfjfp.org/maariv_caspit.htm).
According to Caspit there were still negotiations going on between Barak and Arafat and it was the Israeli military who sabotaged them.
Now with Akiva Eldar's enclosed disclosure about the role of the Israeli military "intelligence" we have a further proof that the IOF was interested in ending the Oslo process by provoking the Intifada through overreacting to the demonstrations on 29.9.2000 against Sharon's visit at Haram al-Sharif.
It was no coincidence that at the begining of October 2000 the US expert Anthony Cordesman published IOF's master plan under the name "Field of Thorns" ( see in the original http://www.csis.org/stratassessment/reports/IsraelPalestine.pdf or a summary in my own article http://www.law-society.org/Intifada2000/articles/Violence_or_transfer.htm).