HERZLIYA, Israel Ñ In a rare criticism, Israel's military chief said
the fierce domestic debate over the Palestinian conflict has undermined the
positions of the Jewish state.
Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon told an international
conference on terrorism that Israel can not explain its positions at home or
abroad because of the dispute over basic questions regarding the conflict
with the Palestinians. Ya'alon said there is no agreement within Israel over
the conflict or its solution, Middle East Newsline reported.
"There is a dispute about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Israeli
side," Ya'alon said on Sunday. "There's a consensus to fight terror. I don't
think there's a consensus regarding a solution to this conflict."
"I don't think there's a consensus of the diagnosis of this problem,"
Ya'alon added. "If you don't agree on the narrative [of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict] then you can't explain it inside or outside of
Ya'alon acknowledged that Israel has no effective information campaign.
He dismissed the investment by the government into Israel's efforts with the
"We are in the game of information warfare," Ya'alon said with a smile.
"We are doing it so well that we can't find it."
Analysts at the conference, sponsored by the International Policy
Institute for Counter-Terrorism, agreed that Israel has performed poorly in
explaining its case. They said Israel has also failed to hurt Palestinian
insurgency groups on a strategic level.
"You have done well tactically," Rohan Gunaratna, a director of terrorism
research at the Singapore-based Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies,
said. "You have failed to stop terrorism at a strategic level."
Gideon Meir, head of information at Israel's Foreign Ministry, said
Israeli spokespeople are at a disadvantage in any debate with their
Palestinian counterparts. Meir said Palestinians can keep their message
extremely simple and are rarely questioned
regarding their assertions.
"The Palestinian message is if only there was no occupation," Meir said.
"I have to speak more and discuss the history and nature of the conflict."