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Israel’s Former Defense Minister on the Turmoil in the Middle East

April 20 2017

Describing the current situation in the Middle East as “the greatest crisis since the days of Muhammad,” Moshe Yaalon explains how Israel can remain secure in the face of a host of threats and points the best way forward in the conflict with the Palestinians:

I supported the Oslo process at the beginning; I value human life more than land, and I’m not messianic. I [also] believe that, on the one hand, there is no chance on the horizon of reaching a final settlement. Yasir Arafat was not ready to accept such an arrangement when negotiations were based on the 1967 lines and the dividing of Jerusalem. He was not ready then, and Mahmoud Abbas is not ready today to state that he will consider [such an agreement] a viable end to the conflict. In other words, he is not ready to recognize Israel’s right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people in any boundaries.

On the other hand, I do not want to rule the Palestinians or annex them. This means we have to make our own decisions about annexations . . . and on where to settle. If we wish the Palestinians to be a political entity, we cannot settle everywhere. We must also make progress on the economy, infrastructure, and security. . . .

There is a fundamental problem regarding the dream of Oslo, and it is that the promotion of terror still exists in Palestinian refugee camps. If you educate the young generation that Palestine exists from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and that there is no room for concessions, and that “Tel Aviv is the biggest settlement,” then you are not preparing your people for co-existence and reconciliation. The people of Tel Aviv don’t understand that these Palestinians see them as settlers. Young kids are educated to hate us—as Israelis, as Jews, as Zionists. You can see it by watching Palestinian television programs for children, or reading their textbooks. It is shocking. This was my personal awakening in 1995 while serving as head of intelligence under Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin.

Read more at BICOM

More about: Israel & Zionism, Middle East, Oslo Accords, Two-State Solution, Yasir Arafat

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy