Ex-Shin Bet chief: No chance of peace in current Israeli political climate

Former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin warns that current Palestinian restlessness could lead to an uprising.

Yuval Diskin (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Yuval Diskin
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin said on Monday that he does not see a realistic chance for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to sign a peace agreement in the current Israeli climate, Army Radio reported.
"It's obvious that, at least according to the current political map, there is no chance the Israeli public will accept a peace agreement," Diskin said at a conference in the Finance Ministry.
As for Palestinian acceptance of such an accord, Diskin said Egypt and Jordan's involvement in the peace process would help to legitimize the influence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and enable him to make concrete decisions.
Diskin has been highly critical of the decision-making process at the highest echelons of Israeli government, and particularly of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's leadership.
In a controversial op-ed he wrote in July, Diskin laments the inability of party leaders to commit to the two-state solution.
"When asked to comment on their positions during the [2013 national] election campaign, Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, who for the most part was certain that he was en route to a crushing victory, said nothing of consequence about the subject [of the conflict with the Palestinians] or other matters. Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid continued to dazzle us with mediocre pronouncements that were designed to be well-received by all, shrewdly avoiding the need to commit himself either way as it relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Shelly Yacimovich has steadfastly refrained from any clear-cut statement on the topic, which has traditionally been a litmus test issue for her predecessors in the Labor Party," he wrote.
Even after talks have been renewed, Diskin wrote, Netanyahu and Abbas have continued to display "powerless leadership."
"The blame game taking place between Netanyahu and Abbas is foolish in my eyes, a useless game that is dangerous on a strategic level, in which the real losers are not the leaders, but rather their two nations, and mostly the Jewish, democratic State of Israel," he wrote.
Diskin also warned on Monday that growing restlessness among the Palestinian public could lead to an uprising.
"There's mounting pressure in the West Bank and immense frustration of Palestinians who feel like their land is being stolen from them," he said.
"They are realizing that the [independent] state they long for is getting further and further away, and [they're] understanding the economy is no longer something comforting," he continued.
These comments echoed warnings of Palestinian frustration in Diskin's July op-ed.
"Among the Palestinians, there is a growing sense of anger and frustration. The fading hopes for a real change in the situation haven’t just lowered the Palestinian street’s faith in a solution to the conflict through negotiation, but it is also the reason, at the end of the day, the Palestinians will take to the streets, leading to another round of bloody violence," he wrote.