Autz7 Internet January 7, 1999

Elyakim Ha'etzni on General Shahak

After a steep climb in the popularity ratings, the new contender for premiership, Amnon Lipkin­Shahak, in one fell blow, put an end to the dream to refreshen the dull, worn­out and discredited political stage with a new element - a party of the center, with a knight in shining armor - a former Chief of Staff - at its head.

In a press­conference, formally announcing his intention to run, Lipkin­Shahak finally showed his cards, for everybody to see that there is nothing in them. Question: What about the Kibbutzim breaking the law, opening their shopping malls on the Shabbat? Shahak's answer: "To that the answers will have to be given by dialogue." And what about the Reform representatives in the religious councils? "An answer to that has to be found".What about the drafting of the yeshiva students? "One should sit with them and talk, until the problem is solved".And what about unemployment? "I intend to deal with their problems." But how? Only when pressed hard, Shahak revealed his real agenda, the only area where he has a clear concept and straight answers: Peace, with a capital "P". Peace will bring investments and reduce unemployment. And how is this peace to be achieved?

A Palestinian state, as the outcome of the final status negotiations; The uprooting of Jewish settlements; Solving the Lebanese predicament by satisfying the Syrian demands in the Golan. Shahak left no doubt as to his readiness to surrender the entire Golan, save only for some bickering around the nearest proximity of the Kinnereth. Of course, none of these ideas is new, new is only the pathetic attempt to hide this leftist program under the cloak of "centrism". But what in this Meretz­platform belongs to the center?

And yet, Shahak rejects the proposal to join Labor, whose left wing has the very same orientation. Shahak admits this, but claims that his sole purpose in running separately (and thereby jeopardizing both his and Barak's chances to win) is to evade the "Leftist" image of Labor. Everything is clear now: Shahak tries to find a formula, how to be a leftist without looking like one. Yet in this he utterly failed. Words like "there is a rift in the nation, I know of no one who can heal it", or "We shall convince very many people that we are serious and that we speak the truth, and they will come" - make a naive, almost childish impression. The Israeli public is by now sophisticated enough to ask for specifics, and specifics there were none.

In an interview on the TV, Shahak in addition to all that made a very grave mistake, that for some reason passed unnoticed. After having passed judgment on Netanyahu "as dangerous to Israel" without giving any reason for such far­ reaching accusation, he hinted darkly that in the wake of the September 1996 Kottel­tunnel riots, Netanyahu proposed a military action inside the Palestinian Authority territory, which was "very wrong" and would have had very negative results. Such a proposal was rejected by him and by the Minister of Defense. By this, Shahak reached a new nadir in Israeli public political morals. From now on an P.M., deliberating over security matters even in the most intimate circle, must guard himself against the possibility of his Chief of Staff going tomorrow into politics and then using such inner top­secret intelligence - against him in the political arena. This is a new, very serious, breach in the very foundations of our political fabric. But the largest question mark around Amnon Shahak are his friends and confidants, the inner circle of his political advisors. One of them is Uri Savir, Peres' right hand man in Oslo, in short "Mr. Oslo". Which reminds us, that Shahak himself, while serving in the army, was Peres' front man in dealing with the PLO, contributing no little to the politization of the army. Now, the civilian Mr. Oslo, Savir, and the military Mr. Oslo, Shahak, again march hand in hand, but this time under the banner of "Centrism".

Another intimate advisor is Shimon Sheves, in the past Rabin's Director General in the Prime Minister's Office, who was the center of many political scandals, later left his post with Rabin and is now involved in a criminal investigation, close to prosecution, in a financial scandal . Under public pressure Sheves now retired from the official entourage of Shahak, but assured us, that nevertheless his advice would continue to be available. And then there is Mr. Yossi Genossar. A short biography: Genossar served as deputy chief of the G.S.S., the famous Shabak. The man first became infamous in the Izat Nafssu affair, an officer in the IDF, who - under suspicion of treason , brutally tortured by Genossar - admitted guilt. In the military court Genossar perjured himself denying torture, causing Nafssu to be sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment. A committee, chaired by Justice Landau, pointed out that Genossar himself had doubts as to Nafssu's guilt, and yet did not shrink from committing perjury to get him convicted. Nafssu was eventually cleared and released.

Then Genossar was involved in the bus No.300 affair, where members of the Shabak killed captured and disarmed terrorists. A semi­judicial committee was set up, the so­called Zorea­committee, in which Genossar served as member. However, he betrayed his trust, leaked out information, also advised the Shabak, how to maneuver the committee to obliterate the truth. Genossar was sacked from his post in the G.S.S.

When the Labor government came to power in 1992, Genossar , who by then had become a prominent member of Labor, was given the post of Director General of the housing Ministry. But here, the High Court intervened and ordered his dismissal. Justice Barak had this to say: "A criminal who committed perjury and obstructed justice - how can he lead a government office, what personal example can he give to his subordinates? How can he gain public confidence in the fairness and straight­forwardness of public servants?" Now, Mr. Genossar is in private business. The Israel economic paper "Globs" (16 February 1966) ran a big article under the caption "How did G. from the Shabak transform into Mr. Five Percent of the Palestinian Authority?" Further in the headlines: Yossi Genosar, while serving as Chairman of Amidar, brokers business with P.A. - involved with Muhamad Rashid, Arafat's right hand, cashing in percentages. For instance, import of cigarettes into the so­called Autonomy. Genossar demanded 3% of the turnover, otherwise there would be no licenses. Says Globs, summing up: Muhammed Rashid and Yossi Genossar are like Siamese twins. In any deal involving Rashid the name of Genossar pops up.

Tell me who your friends are, and I shall tell you who you are. In his press conference, Shahak gave Genossar full backing, as one of his nearest personal and political friends and collaborators. If this is the renewal and renaissance of Israel politics, we shall soon yearn for the old ones.


Elyakim Ha'etzni is a lawyer and Jewish activist who lives in Kiryat Arba.

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