By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Friday, 1 August 2008
A leading candidate to be Israel's next premier called for a death toll of 70 Palestinians a day when he was head of the military during the second intifada, according to a best-selling book by two Israeli journalists.
The account of a briefing given in May 2001 to senior West Bank army commanders reinforces the image of hawkishness enjoyed by Shaul Mofaz. He has emerged as the main rival to the Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, for the leadership of the Kadima party being vacated by Ehud Olmert. Mr Mofaz is expected to stress his security credentials as a former chief of staff and defence minister in his campaign to defeat Ms Livni, the most popular among the Israeli public of the candidates to succeed Mr Olmert as party leader.
According to the book Boomerang, by Ofer Shelah, of Yedhiot Ahronot, and Raviv Drucker, of Channel Ten, Mr Mofaz convened a meeting of brigade and regimental commanders covering the occupied West Bank at Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill. It occurred early in the premiership of Ariel Sharon when the intifada was well under way.