IMEU, Sep 29, 2008
Knesset Profile: Shaul Mofaz
Following his defeat in the September 17 Kadima leadership election, Mofaz has declared his intention to take a break from politics.
A prominent military figure until his 2005 entry into politics, Mofaz served as chief of staff of the Israeli military during the first years of the second Palestinian intifada, when he oversaw the reoccupation of major West Bank cities and the near-total destruction of the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002.
International human rights organizations decried the brutal tactics used to suppress the Palestinian uprising under Mofaz's command, citing numerous cases of war crimes - including unlawful killing, summary execution and the use of human shields. In July 2002, Mofaz authorized the dropping of a one-ton bomb on a residential apartment building in a crowded Gaza City neighborhood, killing 15 Palestinians, including at least nine children. Mofaz was quoted by the British press at the time as having ordered the Israeli army under his command to meet a quota of killing "70 Palestinians a day."
Born in 1948 in Teheran, Iran, Mofaz moved to Israel with his family ten years later. He began a career in the military immediately upon completing high school in 1966, eventually rising to become the army's Chief of Staff in 1998. He held that post until 2002, when he was appointed Minister of Defense by Ariel Sharon. He joined Sharon's Kadima party in 2005, and was appointed Minister of Transportation following his election to the Knesset in March 2006.
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