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Hardliner to head Israel's National Security Council

Israeli Prime Minister appoints well-known hardliner to head the Israeli cabinet's National Security Council

AFP , Wednesday 9 Mar 2011
israeli
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‎(Reuters)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday he was appointing Yaakov Amidror, a hawkish former general, to head the National Security Council (NSC).

"Amidror does not hesitate to express his professional opinion. He is extremely knowledgeable and very experienced in the fields of military, security and strategic issues," a statement from Netanyahu's bureau said.

The appointment of Amidror as a key player within Netanyahu's inner circle of advisers is an indicator that it is unlikely the Israeli premier is planning any far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians to reinvigorate the stalled peace talks.

Amidror is a reserve major general who formerly headed the Israel Defence Forces' research and assessment division and is considered a military hawk.

He opposed Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and has in recent years called for the reoccupation of entire areas of the coastal enclave.

The appointment comes just days after Israeli press reports suggested Netanyahu was planning a new political initiative which would see the establishment of a Palestinian state in temporary borders as a way to restart stalled peace talks.

Direct talks broke down just weeks after they were relaunched on September 2 when Israel refused to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians say they will not negotiate while Israel builds on land it wants for a future state. The statement said Amidror will replace outgoing NSC chair Uzi Arad following a handover period. Arad, who announced he was stepping down in February, has said he plans to return to academia.

Israel's National Security Council, created in 1999, includes 20 advisers from various backgrounds who are charged with drafting reports on potential government security policy but lacks any decision-making power.

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