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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 21, 2003

"Oslo was a Trojan Horse": Israel's Chief of Staff speaks on war's eve
Major-General Moshe "Boogie" Yaalon, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), climbs out of an armored personnel carrier and steps into the mud between the orchards near the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

"I spend a lot of time looking at aerial photos, but in order to understand how hard it is to walk in mud -- and how difficult it is to counter Qassam rockets -- you have to go into the field and feel it," Yaalon explains.

How can you deal with the Qassam rockets that have been falling again and again on the town of Sderot, and the fear that an improved version of them will be able to reach the city of Ashkelon?

"The solution, in general, is deterrence. We saw in the past how, in the area of Beit Hanoun and Jabaliya, the residents themselves and the security services of the Palestinian Authority began a process of preventing the firing of Qassam rockets out of fear of the Israeli army's response. I imagine that like then, in the near future they will ask us to allow them to act. They will no doubt make another attempt at preventing the firing of the Qassam rockets themselves, because they say, 'We fire Qassam rockets on Sderot and it only makes a hole in the grass, but look what's happening here, what price we are paying.'" [more]