Dan Tamir

Yoash Tsiddon - Chatto, warrior

"There is no occupation of the West Bank"

Pt. 1

1:40 minutes
Real Video (843 kB)

Pt. 2

2:08 minutes
Real Video (1.1 MB)

Pt. 3

1:20 minutes
Real Video (672 kB)

Pt. 4

3:50 minutes
Real Video (2.0 MB)

Pt. 5

1:20 minutes
Real Video (654 kB)

Pt. 6

2:25 minutes
Real Video (1.2 MB)

Pt. 7

6:40 minutes
Real Video (3.4 MB)

Pt. 8

3:00 minutes
Real Video (2.5 MB)

Pt. 9

1:20 minutes
Real Video (709 KB)

Pt. 10

4:30 minutes
Real Video (2.3 MB)

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We interviewed Chatto (friend of Serge) in our beachfront office. He introduced himself as "an unfortunate Jew." Why unfortunate? "Because I have nothing to complain about!"

This was a tough one to edit! I found it very hard to cut anything, but I tried to get it down to a reasonable length.

A career military man, Chatto fought in most of Israel's major conflicts. I think it's fair to say that he has been in the inner circle of the Israeli defense establishment. He served a term in the Knesset, and he is someone who is concerned with politics and government policy, and tries to influence them. People I spoke to later who knew of him associated him with the right wing of Israeli politics. I'm not sure how he would feel about that.

I can't refrain from editorializing. I think that Chatto's position — that there can be no Palestinian state because Israel needs to control all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean for its own security — is extreme by Israeli standards, way out of line with world opinion, and essentially untenable. Having said that, I must add that he is also extremely knowledgeable and articulate, and has given these issues a great deal of thought and analysis.

Publications and presentations:

  • ISRAELI FACTS - The Right Against Wrong, 1991
    Nicely-produced book of maps with accompanying text. Starting with historical background, through a section called "Territories for Peace" showing various plans and solutions. His map titled "A Safe Compromise" shows Israel to the Jordan ( I think this is the same map the Palestinian Authority is criticized for). Conclusion: "A hasty PEACE NOW regardless of the Arab's aspiration to destroy us means WAR LATER. Let's change the Arab motivation for war."
  • Non-classified Realities Affecting Israel's Air Force - 2005-2010, 2002
    Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR) Policy Paper No. 136
    Provocative analysis of Israeli history and defense scenarios.
    Remarks presented to the European Union at the program of the Information visit of journalists and representatives of NGOs from Israel, Brussels, Nov. 25-30, 2001. MS Word DOCAdobe PDF

Summary of video clips:

Part 1: The story of the nursing sister coming to Cypress and meeting the commander of the Haganah is the story of my wife and myself. The idea is a cookup; I wasn't that big a hero...but it started with the Haganah man and the nursing sister falling in love on Cypress and the only couple that resulted from this thing is my wife and myself. On the sixth of November we were 55 years married.

Part 2: I came to Israel at the beginning of '41, before the Germans moved into Russia...I wasn't aware of being Jewish as a child....but I had a very stubborn mother. When the Germans started persecuting the Seventh Day Adventists, just to spite them she opened an Adventist church on our property. Finally she blew her top and said "We are Jewish." The Nazi slogan was "Jews to Palestine." I said I'm Jewish, OK, I'll go to Palestine...I'm an unfortunate Jew: One who can't complain of anything!

Part 3: I was 14. I went to school, I worked for a living...I joined the Haganah when I was 16...I was earmarked to go to Europe in '44, but I fell ill with malaria, and I went in '45 as a member of the Palmach...My mission was to rescue Jews, and doing that I had to fight the British. Which I did. Willingly.

Part 4: My family came from Sibiu...my parents stayed, they were not persecuted by the Germans, they were rich and so on, they were persecuted by the Russians, they were rich and so on...I met my mother in Milano..."you'd better come rapidly to Milano, your mother is here, she wants to see you or your tomb." That was our first reunion after the war. She was keeping kosher..."I don't eat pork and I don't drive on Saturday. I took an oath, if you come out alive from this war"...she kept it all her life. Can we go to Rome...I want to see the Pope....I said make up your mind..."You stupid little kid...if a mother finds her son after a war like this, she believes in everybody!"

Part 5: When the Palmach was disbanded...I received a lump sum of 150 lbs., which was a down payment for the house we still live in...I took part in the battle of Jerusalem...I wanted to switch to the airforce...In '56 I was already a fighter squadron commander. I was a test pilot, flew over 50 types...And he lived happily ever after, sometimes barely.

Part 6: How did you get into politics? Much more than having to do with the Israeli-Arab problem...I believe that our system of government is inherently rotten, counterproductive...in total contradiction with our declaration of independence. The balance are the ultra-religious, and their requests are purely pecuniary...What party were you in? I was in Somat, a brand new small party that expanded, but since I left exploded... In international relations, Bebe used to be the deputy minister of foreign affairs, and he used me for many things ...There is no way out as long as you simply bribe the ultra-religious with huge amounts of money.

Part 7:
I want to get your take ...on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the occupation of the West Bank...There is no occupation of the West Bank...Since I was chief of planning of the Israeli Air Force prior to the Six Day War, I can claim to have known what happened. The Egyptians...and Syrians believed they had been strengthened enough to avenge the failure of 1948, in other words to erase the state of Israel... In other words, the second holocaust. Compares air strength in some detail, penetration time, etc. Shows Israel at tremendous disadvantage...How can you win a war in these circumstances. Preempt by surprise. Their aim in 1967 was to exterminate me. How in bloody hell can anyone say I have occupied territories? I didn't occupy territories; I had to do it to stay alive...Testimony before congress, critical of Rogers plan (withdrawal to 1967 borders). Defensible borders...Cannot preempt by surprise from the existing six-day borders....Different kinds of peace. I was a member of the Madrid peace commission and this is where I had to work this out...peace of harmony like US-Canada, peace of "no war" like US-USSR....This peace is based only on deterrence, so your deterrence is the key to peace...The Arab people (as well as Israelis) are better off because of our deterrence capability.. You need the topography if you want to first stop an attack. If Egypt and Syria were to do the same (as in 1977) from the '67 borders, Israel would have not existed.

Part 8: Since I ran convoys to Jerusalem in 1948...more on need to control topography...If you do this, you are going to crisscross the Arab Palestinian ...(necessary occupation makes state unfeasible)... If I am to survive, I have to do this...I have to create a situation whereby eventually you will have Jordanian municipal enclaves in the area controlled by Israel...of course the jordanians don't want to hear of it...in order to do this, first of all you have to agree to stop incitement...Also you have to upgrade Jordan's economy. And I started working on this as a private person, but it all melted in the situation today.

Part 9: I hear the name "Palestinian" since 1964-64...I went back to the Encyclopedia Britannica...there is no such animal...This was considered southern Syria, and the Arabs here were just Arabs, and they were nomads. Arab immigration into Palestine has been larger than the Jewish immigration during te time of the British....it's not that easy and unjust. That's why I don't agree that these are "occupied territories." These are territories that the Arabs prove are necessary for our defense.

Part 10: What do you say to the argument that (Israeli policy is engendering terrorism)...You're right, there is a terrible problem which we would like to avoid. That is the splinters that fly when you cut wood. You cannot fight terrorism which bases itself inside the city without hurting people....Now the Americans even in Afghanistan killed so many times more civilians than what we killed here during two years...when they chased Norriega in Panama, they killed 700 civilians...Unfortunately, very unfortunately...you cannot fight an enemy who is not in the open field...without having civilian casualties...You can do your best, and we were idiots enough to do more than our best in Jenin, where instead of letting the Air Force wipe the casbah out, trying to avoid the death of civilians, we had 13 of ours killed, and then we were accused of making a pogrom...under these conditions, there is nothing you can do except bring the fighting to them...this is the kind of nasty war...it takes a long time. In other words, it's going to be a hell of a mess.

Voices of Israel and Palestine
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Copyright 2003-2009 Peter Rashkin. Material under other bylines is copyright by the authors. All rights reserved.