'US shifted from resolving to managing conflict'

Ya'alon tells Likud Anglos that gov't persuaded Obama that Israeli-Palestinian conflict can't be immediately resolved.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 25, 2011 22:44
2 minute read.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Ariel Je

yaalon great 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon, who maintains close relations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, suggested Sunday night that Israel had persuaded US President Barack Obama to change his strategy from trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to merely managing it.

Speaking in English to a gathering of the Likud Anglos organization in Jerusalem, Ya’alon recalled many mistakes made by Obama and other Western leaders. He credited his own government with persuading the US to right its wrongs.

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“We convinced the American administration that there is no way to solve the conflict in one or two years,” Ya’alon told a packed audience at the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center. “The US is trying to manage the conflict now, rather than solve it.”

This was the first time a high-ranking Netanyahu administration official has indicated that the US had shifted from conflict resolution to management. But there has been no public indication that the Americans have given up their hope of solving the conflict, and the US helped draft the Quartet position that aims to solve the conflict by the end of 2012.

Ya’alon mocked the international community for what he called its “solutionism” and “nowism” in its attempt to solve a conflict that cannot currently be solved. He said the nation that has gotten used to getting food in an instant was impatiently insisting on instant peace.

“They say we reached the moon, so why can’t we solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?” Ya’alon said. “Do we have a solution for everything? In medicine we don’t, not even in mathematics. God has solutions. We as human beings should be more modest.”

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Ya’alon complained about American representatives blaming Israel for the persistence of the conflict at the beginning of the Obama administration, out of what he called “Western self-guilt.”

He said the US and other Western countries were making mistakes due to naivete, patronization, appeasement, self-guilt and political correctness.

He singled out Obama’s speech to the State Department about the Middle East on May 19, in which the president called for resolving the conflict over territory before resolving the refugee issue.

“[The conflict] is not about territory,” Ya’alon said. “That was the reason for the dispute with President Obama. When Obama said borders would be decided first, we rejected it strongly. We said clearly, we’re not going to fall again into the Oslo trap and let the Palestinians get without giving.”

On the Iranian issue, Ya’alon was also critical of Obama, saying that “France and Great Britain are leading the West now in calling for crippling sanctions on the Iranian central bank and preventing Iran from exporting oil, while the US is unfortunately leading from behind.”

Ya’alon’s sole criticism of political opponents in Israel was that opposition leader Tzipi Livni held Israel responsible for the conflict, even as former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice blamed the Palestinians and not Israel in her new book.

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