Ex-IDF general: We have elevated occupation to an ‘art form’
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'Every step we take should stem from one strategic goal — separation from the Palestinians'

Ex-IDF general: We have elevated occupation to an ‘art form’

Maj. Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni, former top commander of IDF forces in West Bank, asks at security conference if 'this is what we want to be'

Gadi Shamni, right, at the time head of the IDF's Central Command, during an army training exercise, August 28, 2008. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash 90)
Gadi Shamni, right, at the time head of the IDF's Central Command, during an army training exercise, August 28, 2008. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash 90)

A former head of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni on Wednesday criticized the political echelons for the occupation of Palestinian territories, saying it prevents the army from preparing for genuine threats.

The army’s Central Command is responsible for an area that includes the West Bank.

“We have elevated the occupation to an art form,” Shamni told a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. “We are the world champions of occupation. I was GOC Central Command, a general [in Hebrew, also “champion”] of the occupation. And I’m asking, is this what we want to be? Every step we take should stem from one strategic goal — separation from the Palestinians.”

Shamni led the IDF’s Central Command in the years 2007-2009 and left the army in 2012.

“The IDF is busy controlling a population of 2.5 million civilians [which] diverts the army from its primary function. The IDF is having trouble preparing for the threats facing it. The army’s ethics and capabilities are drained and it becomes a punching bag for politicians.”

“Israel will never agree to an arrangement that doesn’t answer its security needs,” Shamni asserted, speaking on a panel alongside other former IDF generals at a conference put on by the IDC’s Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya. “The only acceptable solution is an agreed-upon separation from the Palestinians.”

Turning to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Shamni said that even if Hamas were to give up its weapons, it would take years until there could be open passage through Israeli territory between Gaza and the West Bank.

“The path toward including Gaza in an [Israeli-Palestinian peace] framework is far off and dependent on [Hamas] accepting conditions it will not prepared [to accept] in the foreseeable future,” he said.

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