Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Israel’s new defence minister accused of war crime

Posted by claudiacampli su 15 marzo, 2009


A HAWKISH general, who cancelled a trip to London four years ago because he feared being arrested on war crime charges, is expected to become Israel’s new defence minister.

Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon, 58, former chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, is reported to have accepted an invitation from Binyamin Netanyahu, the incoming prime minister, to serve in the new government.

Renowned as a tough-minded commander, Ya’alon’s legal problems stem from a decision in July 2002 to assassinate Salah Shehadeh, the commander of the military wing of Hamas, the hardline Islamic organisation that now controls Gaza.

Shehadeh, 49, who was blamed for scores of deaths and who masterminded the production of Qassam rockets that were fired into Israel, was killed by a 2,200lb bomb dropped on a building in Gaza City, where he and his family were hiding.

Fourteen other people also died, including his wife and nine children.

Ya’alon was accused by Palestinian groups of helping to plan the raid. In September 2005, in the wake of reports that warrants were being sought for his arrest, he was forced to call off a visit to Britain, where he was planning to attend a fundraising event for an Israeli soldiers’ welfare association.

Ya’alon, a graduate of the British Army’s staff college in Camberley, Surrey, was furious. In an open letter to Tony Blair, the then prime minister, he wrote: “As long as I, the son of a soldier who fought in the British Army’s Jewish Brigade . . . who has dedicated his life to fighting those who threaten Israel, the West and its culture, must refrain from travelling to Britain in order to avoid the embarrassment of arrest for unfounded propagandist charges of ‘war crimes’, there is no chance for success in our battle against jihadist Islam.”

An advocate of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, Ya’alon was the head of Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s elite commando brigade, when Netanyahu was one of its reserve officers. He joined Netanyahu’s Likud party in November and was elected to the Knesset – the Israeli parliament – in February.

After his national service, Ya’alon, who is from a working-class background, became a dairyman on a kibbutz in the Negev desert, close to the Jordanian border. He rejoined the military after the Yom Kippur war in 1973, in which he served as a reservist. He still sometimes returns to the milking sheds at weekends. In April 1988, Ya’alon led a daring raid on the Tunis villa of a leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Khalil al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad. He was Yasser Arafat’s deputy and in charge of the Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Ya’alon’s men approached the villa, slashed the bodyguard’s throat and surprised Jihad in his study. He was shot dead in front of his wife and children.

Ya’alon and his commandos then disappeared without a trace.



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