Gen. Oren Shachor: 'Return to Gaza!'

Labor's Oren Shachor says the Disengagement was an error, and that Israel must re-enter Gaza with military force to stop the Kassam rockets.

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Oren Shachor, a former IDF general who was forced to resign for having leaked details of secret Hevron negotiations to then-opposition leader Shimon Peres, is just the latest public figure to say Israel has no choice but to enter Gaza with military force.


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Speaking with Arutz-7's Uzi Baruch on Tuesday, Shachor said, "[We have] to enter with a sufficiently strong military force to stop the rocket-firing altogether."  He added that the army forces "will apparently have to remain there longer than just a short time.  We have no other choice...  I don't mean we should conquer the area; that's too strong of a word. But we have to be there with sufficiently strong forces that will prevent them from firing rockets."

The retired general admitted that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was a mistake: "At the time, I thought differently, but there is [now] no doubt that the Disengagement was an error.  It has resulted in the formation of a Hamastan state in Gaza... In addition, there is an entire population that is still without homes and with unsolved problems - many thousands of people.  I believe that we should admit openly: The Disengagement was a mistake."

Shachor recommends sanctions such as cutting off fuel and electricity to Gaza "in a much more massive manner [than is being done at present], in a way that will get the Palestinian civilian population to rise against those who fire the rockets and tell them, 'We've had it, no more.'"

Shachor's History
As Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza during the mid-90's, Shachor held a top position on negotiating teams with Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority - especially regarding the Hevron Agreement.  He apparently misused his power; it was learned in late 1996 that he had leaked information on the negotiations to Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin - two leading opposition left-wing Knesset Members.  As a result, Shachor was ultimately forced to resign from the army.

In August 1997, Shachor reportedly toyed with the idea of joining the far-left Meretz party, but in the end announced that he was joining the Labor Party, just to the right of Meretz.  His left-wing positions included support for the formation of a Palestinian Authority industrial park near Jenin, in close proximity to Jewish communities in the Shomron - in opposition to the Ministries of the Interior, Industry and Trade, and the Environment. 

However, he took a hawkish view against the PA's violation of its Oslo obligations, and often said - at times of increased Arab terrorism - that military activity was preferable to negotiations.  In June 2002, for instance, he said that Israel had no choice but to take over and remain in PA-controlled areas.  "This is the only way to prevent the sprouting up of a new terrorist infrastructure," he told Arutz-7. "It is especially easy for them to prepare suicide attacks [if we are not there]; it's obvious that this is so... I'm sure we can convince the U.S. of the importance [of such a step], and even if we can't convince the Europeans, they will have complaints against us in any event, so it doesn't matter.  We have to worry first and foremost about our own security."

In May 2004, during a military offensive in Gaza, Shachor said, "Even if there is a disengagement [withdrawal from Gaza] next year, we will have to enter Gaza and put things into shape.  The disengagement will not stop terrorism..."



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