Ya'alon says international calls for Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria are 'irrational'

Ya’alon traveled to the United States to meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other American officials.

October 25, 2014 23:06
1 minute read.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is hugged by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon at an Honor Cordon at the Pentagon, October 21. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Western expectations of Israel to withdraw from territory in Judea and Samaria are “irrational” in light of the recent experiences on the Gaza frontier, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told The Washington Post.

Ya’alon traveled to the United States to meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other American officials.

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In his interview with The Washington Post, the defense minister said that Israel and the US have “overcome” the tensions between their two governments.

“We have disputes,” Ya’alon acknowledged. “With all the disputes, the United States is Israel’s strategic ally… I can tell you that between the Pentagon and the Israel Defense Forces there is an unbreakable bond.”

Ya’alon also reiterated his view that full-fledged statehood for the Palestinians is out of the question.

"You can call it the new Palestinian empire," Ya'alon said. "We don’t want to govern them, but it is not going to be a regular state for many reasons."

When asked what he meant by "empire," Ya'alon sought to clarify.

"[Israel will agree to Palestinian] autonomy. It is going to be demilitarized."

Ya'alon added that Israel will not enter final-status negotiations with the Palestinians as long as the Gaza Strip is not demilitarized.

"It is up to [the Palestinians]," the defense minister said. "According to the [Oslo] agreement, they should be demilitarized. It is up to Abu Mazen if he is able or if he wants to demilitarize Gaza. Otherwise, we are not going to talk about any final settlement."

When asked if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is "the best Palestinian leader Israel is going to get," he replied: "I don’t know, but he is not a partner for the two-state solution. He doesn’t recognize the existence of the Jewish state."

Ya'alon said that while Abbas has eschewed violence, this is only a "tactical consideration."

"He believes he might get more by what he calls 'political resistance' — going to the United Nations or to international bodies to delegitimize us. He prefers it to violence because in his experience, terror doesn’t pay off."

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