Hardliner to head Israel's National Security Council

AFP , Sunday 27 Mar 2011

Israel appoints a pro-settlement reserve major general as head of National Security Council, casting a dark shadow for peace with Palestinians


Israel's cabinet on Sunday approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pick of a hawkish former general to head the National Security Council (NSC).

"The government unanimously approved the appointment of reserve general Yaakov Amidror to head the National Security Council," Netanyahu's office said.

Amidror's inclusion as a key player within Netanyahu's inner circle of advisers has been viewed as an indicator that it is unlikely the 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 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and has called in recent years for the reoccupation of entire areas of the coastal enclave.

The appointment comes with the peace process seemingly intractably deadlocked, with neither side willing to back down from their positions.

Direct talks broke down just weeks after they were re-launched in September 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.

Amidror will replace Uzi Arad, who announced in February he was stepping down and has said he plans to return to academia.

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

Short link: