In a thinly veiled criticism of the Obama administration, Defense Minister Moshe
Ya’alon said Saturday that those who place the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as
the source of instability in the Middle East are mistaken.
He said that
Israel has no viable peace partner in the Palestinians, who have yet to
recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state or signal their willingness to end the
“Events in Tunisia, Egypt [and] Syria have no connection to
this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.
The Iranian issue also has no
connection. This conflict is local, but it is not the most important in the
Middle East,” Ya’alon said, speaking at the Israel Business Conference,
organized by Globes.
The defense minister said, “As someone who supported
[the] Oslo [Peace Process], I’m learning that on the other side we have no
partner for two states for two people. There is no one on the other
[There] hasn’t been, since the dawn of Zionism, a leadership that
is prepared to recognize our right to exist as a nationstate for the Jewish
nation and to recognize an agreement as the end of the conflict and the end to
“We won’t talk about an inch, about a millimiter of territory,
if we don’t see that we have a partner who talks about recognition, about the
end of the conflict and about giving up the right of return. We will not
implement the doctrine of stages.”
Although the conflict is unsolvable at
this time, other issues, like improving the Palestinian Authority’s economy,
governability, law and order can be improved, Ya’alon said.
minister said he would be convinced that a partner exists on the other side “the
moment they stop teaching their children to put on bomb belts and explode
against us, when the state of Israel appears in text books and when Tel Aviv,
which they consider to be a settlement, appears on the map.”
The IDF and
its freedom of operation in Judea and Samaria is what is protecting the
Palestinian Authority from extremist Islamism, Ya’alon said.
the biggest threat, Ya’alon stressed, saying that even after signing an
agreement with the international community in Geneva, the regime in Tehran
continues to activate terrorism in Afghanistan against US interests, as well as
in Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, while calling for Israel to be
“It is activating terrorism in Africa, Asia, and South
America. Therefore, [Iran] is the most significant source of instability
in the Middle East... it is a threat to the stability of the region, and to the
“We are acting responsibly to create a reasonable situation that
serves our interests,” said Ya’alon.
Egypt today is doing more to combat
terrorism in Sinai and illegal smuggling than in the past, and criticism of it
by the Obama Administration is unwarranted, he said.
Ya’alon asked why
“specifically this [Egyptian] regime is getting criticized by the American
administration, that is demanding democratic standards from it. At this time,
are democratic values more important in a society that is not built for that?
“The US administration is trying to push the new Egyptian government to
cooperate with the Muslim Brothers. This is grounds for a discussion with the
Ya’alon said in his speech that the West’s mistake is
believing that the Middle East can be democratized through elections. “Those who
think this is possible are simply wrong,” he said, adding, “This is a long
process that begins with education, not elections.
“Hence, the failure is
written on the wall. We’ve seen this in Gaza and we’ve seen it in
Earlier in his address, Ya’alon spoke about Syria’s civil war,
saying its end was not in sight.
“The regime cannot defeat the
opposition, and the opposition cannot defeat the regime. The only thing that
strengthened the regime is the guarantee it won through the agreement on
“But on the ground, it is losing territory every day.
we see this on the Golan Heights, in Damascus, and in Aleppo. Syrian
President Bashar Assad controls less than 40 percent of Syrian
Ya’alon warned that events in Syria are creating new kinds of
threats to Israel. He said that there was no unified, agreedupon Sunni
opposition, saying that Israel’s policy on Syria was clear. “We don’t get
involved in the internal war, but we place clear red lines: Not to allow the
transfer of balance-altering weapons to hostile elements, with an emphasis on
Hezbollah, not to allow the transfer of chemical weapons and not to allow harm
to our sovereignty on the Golan Heights.”
Referring to Friday’s border
bomb attack on an IDF patrol, Ya’alon said, “Yesterday, an incident occurred and
we do not know who is behind it. I suggest that all of the elements on the other
side of the border, be they the regime, jihadi organizations, Hezbollah or any
other element, do not test these red lines, because we will protect our