(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former defense minister Moshe Yaalon said on Tuesday that if elected prime minister, while he would not achieve peace with the Palestinians, who are, according to him, not yet ready for peace. He would also end loyalty-appointments and attacks on the IDF chief.
Yaalon made the comments at the INSS conference in Tel Aviv when he and other top Israeli politicians were asked to address major challenges for the next Israeli prime minister.
Pitching himself as the mature statesman-candidate for prime minister when elections come around, he said he “would appoint people based on qualifications…and not loyalty."
He said, “leadership must be done by example…I would take divisiveness…off the agenda.”
The former defense minister also said that top political leaders must stop attacking the IDF chief, the Supreme Court and other top non-elected public servants simply “because they disagree with a decision.”
Yaalon did not sound a hugely different note than the current government's position regarding the Palestinians, saying, “I have known [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas for a long time.” He is running on decades of joint battles and negotiations between him and top Palestinians.
He said Abbas could not make peace because he could not accept Israel, even within the 1967 borders, which he said the PA president made clear in a widely panned speech lashing out at Israel and US President Donald Trump in mid-January.
Despite a lack of a current opportunity for full peace, he said Israel could improve the Palestinian economic situation and reach understandings to keep stability in both with the West Bank and with Gaza.
Further, Yaalon said Abbas should thank Israel for saving him from Hamas, saying the IDF blocks 70% of Hamas operations in the West Bank, without which it could overthrow Abbas’ Fatah-ruling party.
On the economic plane, Yaalon said he would make a huge investment to bridge the growing divide between rich and poor in the country.