VIDEOS

IDF strike “a tragic mistake” – Ehud Yaari on ABC TV

Apr 5, 2024

Play Video

Visiting AIJAC fellow Ehud Yaari discussed the state of the Gaza war and the tragically mistaken IDF strike upon an aid convoy with ABC TV’s News Breakfast, April 5 2024.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Bridget Brennan: Let’s get more on our top story now. And of course, the war between Israel and Hamas. We know that the US president, Joe Biden, held a very direct and strident conversation over the phone last night with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Uh, Ehud Yaari is a journalist and commentator and a fellow with the US think tank, the Washington Institute. We’re grateful that he joins us in the studio now. Very good morning to you and welcome.

Ehud Yaari: Good morning. My pleasure.

Bridget Brennan: Welcome to Australia. Uh, overnight, that conversation between the US President and Mr. Netanyahu sounds to be a shift in tone from the US president in the way in which he’s speaking with Mr. Netanyahu. Are you sensing that there is becoming a little bit of a shift in the way that international allies are dealing with Israel now?

Ehud Yaari: I think there is no basic change in the US policy. They still would like to see Israel finish the job, eradicate Hamas and remove Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip, and dismantle the military organisation that they have built over the years. And Hamas will be at some point converted from a terrorist army, well-equipped with tunnels and rockets and missiles, etc., into an armed underground. And then you treat it as an armed underground. However, however, the Americans would like to see more effort on the part of Israel in getting the supplies into Gaza for the civilian population. They would like to, the Israeli army, to be a bit more careful, although they are, um, conducting operations. And of course, what’s on the table is a possibility of an operation against the last brigade of Hamas, uh, which is based on the city of Rafah at the southern end of the Gaza Strip. So the argument or the debate between Biden and Netanyahu, as, is mainly about how you do it, and how it’s going to be seen, rather than what is the purpose of the whole operation.

Michael Rowland: But clearly the deaths of those aid workers, including Australian Zomi Frankcom, have really galvanized international opinion. You say the Israeli military needs to be more careful. It was a blunder of epic, tragic proportions, wasn’t it, to send these missiles into these clearly marked aid convoys.

Ehud Yaari: It is a tragic mistake. And everybody in Israel, including the top leadership and the top leadership of the army, has apologised in English, very frankly. And an investigation is, uh, conducted. Now, if I may in one minute try to explain how this happens.

Michael Rowland: Yep.

Ehud Yaari: We are talking about an area which is not taken by the Israeli army. It was not regarded as an important area at this point. Uh, you move at night in an area which is infested with Hamas fighters. On the Israeli side, you have what we call a capsule, a small war room in which representatives of the different branches, air force, intelligence, tanks, infantry are all represented, getting together the intelligence and having to make on a split of a second the decision whether to let the drone fire a missile or not, that was a case of mistaken identity. They took them for Hamas, which often uses ambulances, uh aid assistance vehicles, etc. This decision was taken. The decision to fire and then fire again.

Bridget Brennan: Three times we understand.

Ehud Yaari: Yeah, because they were sure it was Hamas.

Bridget Brennan: How could they be sure it was Hamas when it was clearly marked as World Central Kitchen?

Ehud Yaari: They couldn’t see.

Bridget Brennan: We understand that, we see we understand that that that they had given their coordinates and their movements to, to the IDF.

Ehud Yaari: Here was another problem. Um, they, uh, the aid organisations are coordinated, well coordinated for many months now with a branch of the Israeli army which is responsible for the civilian issues. They were not coordinated. And it’s partly a mistake of the UN, uh, people on the ground. They were not coordinated with the Southern Command, which is in charge of the operation. So a decision to fire to, to give the order to the drone to shoot, could be could have been taken by a lady, a girl, a woman, soldier, uh, at the rank of lieutenant or even a sergeant on the basis of intelligence, which was mistaken that these were Hamas people.

Bridget Brennan: Certainly many people, including experts in aid, would challenge that view that. There has been a long standing procedure for deconfliction with aid agencies, and many countries are now asking Israel for a greater accountability on this.

Ehud Yaari: You know Bridget, we are talking about a very complex area, very difficult for military operation, because Hamas has immersed itself intentionally for years within the civilian population. And we have mistakes in a war like this, which is unprecedented in such densely urban area with 600km of tunnels. So let me tell you, we had 20% of our casualties from friendly fire. Mistaken. We had three hostages who managed to release themselves from captivity, killed by soldiers who mistook them as Hamas terrorists.

Michael Rowland: It’s an awful lot of mistakes by the Israeli military, which is the whole point here. And they seem to be happening again and again. I want to go to the Rafah situation. Benjamin Netanyahu is intent, so he says on going into Rafah, as you say, to clear out Hamas militants there. But I guess the question is, Ehud, at what cost? We know there are more than a million Gazans. There are who, many of whom have fled northern Gaza. There will be immense civilian casualties if this happens. Do you think it’s really worth the huge loss to its international standing, which it will be if Israel goes into Rafah and there’s a huge loss of life involved in that?

Ehud Yaari: One has to read the statements by the Israeli leadership very carefully. They are saying we are not going to let Hamas maintain one brigade intact in Gaza. We are not having vipers in our bed anymore. It’s not going to be tolerated. That does not mean that Israel is going to move with a division into Rafah, where you have now 1.2 million, mostly displaced people from the north. What I think will happen is that you will see the Israeli army at one point after Ramadan, which finishes in a week or so. You will see the Israeli army take over the 14 kilometre strip, uh, of the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt, where they have tunnels through which they smuggle the weapons, etc., encircle Rafah and call on this brigade, which, by the way, is the worst brigade of Hamas. They will call on them to surrender and offer terms. They want to get out. They can get out of the Gaza Strip. I don’t see Israel storming Rafah.

Bridget Brennan: Well we’ll see.

Michael Rowland: Uh, Ehud Yaari, thank you very much for your time this morning.

Ehud Yaari: You’re welcome.

Bridget Brennan: Best wishes for your trip to Australia.

Ehud Yaari: My pleasure.

Tags: , , ,

RELATED ARTICLES


Screenshot

“There is a distinct lack of leadership not just here in Australia but in other jurisdictions [too]”: Joel Burnie on Sky News

May 20, 2024 | Featured, Video
Screenshot 2024 05 14 At 12.20.28 PM

Australian UN vote ultimately rewards the terrorism of October 7 – Natasha Hausdorff on Sky News

May 14, 2024 | Video
Screenshot 2024 05 14 At 11.47.20 AM

Australia’s support for UN General Assembly resolution “very disturbing” – Colin Rubenstein on Sky News

May 14, 2024 | Video
Screenshot

Hamas Statistics: True or False? – a webinar

May 7, 2024 | Featured, Video
Screenshot 2024 05 01 At 11.40.36 AM

The idea that you would poison and indoctrinate the mind of a child…is disgusting – Joel Burnie on Sky News

May 1, 2024 | Video
Screenshot 2024 04 16 At 3.14.28 Pm

‘Flipping of the narrative’: Israel ‘depicted as victim’ after Iranian attack – Ran Porat on France 24 television

Apr 16, 2024 | Featured, Video

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Malaysian PM Anwar with the late Iranian President Raisi in Kuala Lumpur, November 2023 (Image: Facebook/Anwar Ibrahim)

Malaysia’s role in supporting Iran’s terrorism

Image: Facebook

Australia’s failing campus report card

Screenshot 2024 01 27 At 3.16.11 pm

Claiming the International Court of Justice found accusations of genocide against Israel were “plausible” is just false

The International Criminal Court entrance at The Hague, Netherlands (Image: Shutterstock)

AIJAC strongly condemns International Criminal Court arrest warrant requests for Israeli leaders

Image: Shutterstock

The UN’s slippery slope is now a chasm

Malaysian PM Anwar with the late Iranian President Raisi in Kuala Lumpur, November 2023 (Image: Facebook/Anwar Ibrahim)

Malaysia’s role in supporting Iran’s terrorism

Image: Facebook

Australia’s failing campus report card

Screenshot 2024 01 27 At 3.16.11 pm

Claiming the International Court of Justice found accusations of genocide against Israel were “plausible” is just false

The International Criminal Court entrance at The Hague, Netherlands (Image: Shutterstock)

AIJAC strongly condemns International Criminal Court arrest warrant requests for Israeli leaders

Image: Shutterstock

The UN’s slippery slope is now a chasm

SORT BY TOPICS