Why are generals refusing to lead sovereignty push?

Three have so far turned down Defense Minister Gantz down because of the politics involved, and almost no groundwork has been done to prepare for the expected move in July.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Three former major generals so far have refused Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s request to head an administration to prepare for the consequences of applying sovereignty to 30 percent of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, Channel 12 reported Thursday.

Two of the IDF retirees, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa and Avi Mizrahi, headed the Central Command that includes the sensitive region, and Maj. Gen. Yaacov Ayish, having led the IDF Operations Branch, is also well-acquainted with the area.

There were two main reasons for their refusal, says the report. One is that the application of sovereignty is a political hot potato. Second, some of them are now connected to security firms in the private sector, and their involvement may constitute a conflict of interests.

The report pointed out that although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is determined to bring the sovereignty vote to the Knesset in just a few weeks, there is no control center yet to direct groundwork in the field and prepare for the probable diplomatic backlash in the international arena.

The headquarters chief could also oversee military plans to contain any Palestinian violence that may erupt as a result of the Knesset vote. The IDF General Staff has only just begun preparing for various scenarios.

The problematic political aspects of the move are clear, as Netanyahu’s enthusiasm for it has been tempered by Gantz’s foot-dragging on the issue. The Blue and White head has met twice with the prime minister in recent days, and the coalition partners reportedly disagree on several important points, including the amount of territory that should be included in the sovereignty vote.

The U.S. administration wants broad-based backing for sovereignty in the Israeli government. This means that even though the coalition agreement stipulates that Gantz cannot veto the move, the Americans have allowed him this power through the back door.

Blue and White officials have said that they can’t decide on their position until they see a finalized map showing which areas are to have Israeli civil law applied to them (instead of the current military law). American and Israeli officials are still working on it, according to Netanyahu.

There is also a map being touted by settlement leaders and others worried about the security of the more isolated villages in Judea and Samaria, which could theoretically end up as Israeli enclaves in Palestinian territory according to President Donald Trump’s peace plan. They have presented their own map, which reportedly adds some 2.5 percent more territory in order to ensure the villages’ safety.