Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Tuesday said that the "land for peace" paradigm for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a mistake which has brought Israel only "terror and rockets" in exchange for territorial concessions.
Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Ya'alon said that history has proven that the root of the conflict is not Israel's not returning to the pre-1967 lines, but rather the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist.
He said that, both in the most recent negotiations, and in all other attempts to solve the conflict, the Palestinians had refused to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, had refused to give up the right of return and had refused to agree that a peace deal would put an end to all future Palestinian claims.
Ya'alon stated that the Fatah-Hamas unity government would not contribute to the cause of peace as some have suggested. He said that there is "zero percent chance that Hamas will accept the quartet conditions," and recognize Israel.
He posited that the likely result of the unity deal is not that the Palestinian Authority will gain control of Gaza, but rather that Hamas will gain control of the West Bank, turning into a threat like Gaza.
Ya'alon rejected as "nonsense," claims that Israel was an apartheid state, saying that Israel's Arabs did not want to leave Israel for the PA and African workers came to the Jewish state by choice to work. He further rejected claims of apartheid by pointing out the stability enjoyed by Israel's Arab Christian community as compared to the plight of Christians in the rest of the Middle East.
Ya'alon warned that while the radical Shi'ite axis led by Iran and Global Jihad elements are on the rise, opportunities have been created to make allies with Sunni powers.
"The radical Shi'ite axis, unfortunately is supported by the Russians. We have seen the weapons provided by them in Gaza and in the hands of Hezbollah," the defense minister stated.
Ya'alon said that World Jihad threatens Israel and Jordan, and should worry the entire world. "We see this in Europe, such as in the Brussels attack," Ya'alon said, referencing a shooting attack at a Jewish Museum that killed four in Belgium earlier this month.
"Muslims and Muslim converts that go to fight in Syria come back to spread terror," he said.
He said that Israel has opportunities to make allies among the Sunni camp, who faces common threats with Israel, such as the Shi'ite axis and World Jihad elements.
Ya'alon warned that the Syrian chemical weapons threat, while lessened , had not disappeared and Israel must be wary of them attempting to hide part of the stockpile that they have agreed to destroy.
He spoke of recent struggles between the Defense Ministry and Finance Ministry over the defense budget, saying there was a misconception that if the security situation was relatively quiet, we could stop investing in it.
He said that there was a high price to the defense establishment's ability to maintain the apparent calm, through good intel and cyber defense.
The defense minister spoke about Iran as the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East.
"There is no conflict in the region that Iran is not involved in," Ya'alon said, listing Syria, Bahrain and Iraq as examples of countries in which Iran was involved and causing instability. He said that Tehran was also supporting the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
He lamented the fact that the current negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program had ended the Islamic Republic's isolation. Ya'alon said that they would continue to "maneuver" without the continuation of sanctions and pressure.
He said that all the terror threats against Israel within its borders and abroad were directed by Iran. This, he said, was further proof that Israel's problems with its neighbors were not based on territory.