Posted by Joshua on Sunday, March 28th, 2010
The following is the translation of Yedioth Ahronoth’s interview with Moshe Ya’alon, aka “Bogi,” Israel’s Vice Premier (nominally, the second in command in Israel’s government) and former former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. [Thanks to O.N.]
Moshe Ya’alon says that the Israeli government doesn’t really mean what it says about a two-state solution. Whatever it says and does to allegedly advance peace with the Palestinians is all maneuvers. “Nobody in the forum of seven (the inner cabinet – O.N.) thinks that we can reach an agreement with the Palestinians,” Bogi tells Yedioth, “And I say so out of knowledge.” So why maneuver? Bogi replies: “Because in the political establishment there are pressures. Peace Now from within and other elements from without. So you have to maneuver. But what I’m saying now has to be given over to the Americans, and I hope that they will understand.”
So there you have it: Peace Now and the American administration are applying pressure and the Netanyahu government is “maneuvering.”
If Ben-Gurion Were Alive Today, He Would Vote Likud
Yedioth Ahronoth, 26 March, 2010
by Yuval Karni
Gestures, statements, negotiations—nothing will come of it in the end. That is the bottom line as far as Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe (Bogi) Yaalon is concerned. The former Mapainik, who has become a right-wing marker in the government, looks at the lame efforts to resume the negotiations with the Palestinians and at the gestures made by Prime Minister Netanyahu—from the announcement of the two-state solution to the decision to freeze construction in the settlements—and suggests that we not become confused. It is all maneuvers. “And I say so out of knowledge,” Bogi says. “Nobody in the forum of seven thinks that we can reach an agreement with the Palestinians.”
Q. So why all these games of make-believe negotiations? It’s possible to announce that we will not reach an agreement, and that is all.
“Because in the political establishment there are pressures. Peace Now from within and other elements from without. So you have to maneuver. But what I’m saying now has to be given over to the Americans, and I hope that they will understand.
“Some of what we have to do is maneuver with the American administration and the European establishment, which are also nourished by Israeli elements, which create the illusion that an agreement can be reached. If the leader of the opposition gets up on stage and says that she is in favor of peace, unlike the prime minister who is against peace, then honestly. Come off it.”
Q. If everything is stuck with the Palestinians, why not turn to the Syrian channel? Maybe it would be easier there?
“Why do you say that everything is stuck? The country is being built up, the economy is thriving, there are investments in infrastructure and in education, settlement, water projects, alternative energy. What is stuck here? The country is blossoming. I know this defeatist attitude, because we have heard it from the politicians from the previous government, who say that time is working against us. I say that time works for those who make use of it. The founders of Zionism knew how to make use of time, and we in the government know how to make use of time.”
Q. Make use of time or drag things out?
“Who wants to drag anything out? I come with clean hands. From my perspective, I would even be willing to divide the country, but today I would not be willing to have such a compromise in light of what I have seen. So we have to make use of time in order to keep on building.”
Q. Are you willing to withdraw from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria?
“One of our moderate reflexes in recent years has been that the moment we talk about negotiations, we start looking right away for a place to withdraw from. How many years was the Golan Heights under Syrian sovereignty? Nineteen. It has been with us for longer. Why is it taken for granted that in order to obtain peace, we must withdraw? As far as I am concerned, there is no discussion of this at all. No discussion. Every withdrawal has only tempted the Arabs to become more encouraged and lift up their heads.”
The Americans Do Not See It?
Over the past two weeks, Israel has been dealing with a crisis with the American administration. Netanyahu hoped that his visit to New York and Washington, and the meeting he succeeded in getting for himself with the president in the end, would help him soften Obama. He knew that he would reach the White House after receiving thunderous applause at the AIPAC conference, and hoped that this would influence Obama to meet him halfway. In the end, the prime minister received loud acclaim from Jewish community leaders, but the president did not get the hint, did not let up on the pressure, and demanded clear answers and commitments in writing, since he no longer trusts Netanyahu’s verbal declarations. The feeling of distrust deepened, and it appears that the gap has gotten worse.
Yaalon also admits that there is a problem. Mainly of the Americans. Anti-Israel positions have managed to trickle into the core of the administration, and in his opinion, there are some things that they just do not understand.
“True, there is a crisis right now,” Yaalon says, “but the relationship between us is deep, strategic, based on common values, goals and challenges, including with jihadist Islam. This crisis is minor.
“There are people in America who see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the main cause of instability in the Middle East, and this perspective has support in the administration, but what can we do? The instability is not our fault. We have nothing to with what is happening in Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq. The Middle East has been in conflict for hundreds of years, between Sunnis and Shiites, between Persians and Arabs, between pragmatists and fundamentalists. The main conflict today is between jihadist Islam and the West, and in this, both we and the United States are partners.”
Q. The feeling is that a crisis of trust has been created.
“Since the government began, there has been open and fruitful dialogue with the administration. We put everything on the table. The prime minister has said several times that we do not want to rule the Palestinians, and today there are two Palestinian governments: Hamastan in Gaza and Fatahland in Judea and Samaria.
“We need to see what has happened here in the past seventeen years: the idea of land for peace has failed. We got land for terror in Judea and Samaria and land for rockets in Gaza. What, the Americans do not see it?
“There are disagreements among friends as well, and as friends, we must clarify them in dialogue, even if it looks like a crisis. We will get through it, and we will continue our deep strategic relationship.”
Q. Does Obama want to overthrow Netanyahu?
“Ask him. I don’t know. I know that they are coming to us with demands that have no precedent, and that is one of the administration’s mistakes.”….
The minister in charge of dealing with strategic threats is convinced that in the end, Israel will annex some of the territories. “The prime minister reiterates all the time, and also brought a decision to the security cabinet that says clearly, that immediately after the freeze, we will continue to build in Judea and Samaria as we did before.”
Q. Construction will resume on September 26?
“That is the security cabinet’s decision. One of my concerns is that this temporary freeze will become permanent, and the additional problem is that the subject is on the table at all. It is a distorted perspective that the settlements are an obstacle to peace.”
Q. So why did you give in and have the freeze?
“You can call it giving in, but if all the members of the forum of seven supported it, then things are a go. We had to do a diplomatic maneuver, and we went with the lesser of the evils.”
Q. A situation could be created in which we cannot build in the territories because of the peace process. What then?
“We will cross that bridge when we get to it. With a heavy heart, I agreed to the freeze because it leaves the subject of the settlements on the table, and the people of Israel is the least united on the subject of the settlements.”
Q. Will we evacuate settlements in the end?
“I do not accept that. What has happened to us in recent years obligates us to stop with everything connected to withdrawal.”
Q. Would you rather that the settlers be under Palestinian rule?
“Creative solutions can be found. If we are talking about peace, why can Jews not live in Judea and Samaria? I believe that they can, and that in the end, they will live under Israeli sovereignty.”
Q. Why not annex territory and put facts on the ground right now?
“We will get to that. At least in the settlement blocs.”…..
US ambassador votes against Palestinian “right to self-determination” at the UN. [The US vetoes this in order to prevent the UN from eventually voting to recognize a Palestinian state, which Palestinians are pushing for.]
Thursday 25 March 2010
The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday….. voted nearly unanimously in favour of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, with 45 countries voting in favour and only the United States voting against. No countries chose to abstain. … Despite Washington’s much-hyped tiff with Tel Aviv, the US stood behind Israel at Wednesday’s council meeting.
US ambassador Eileen Donahoe said: “We are deeply troubled to be presented once again with a slate of resolutions so replete with controversial elements and one-sided references that they shed no light and offer no redress for the real challenges in the region.” Ms Donahoe insisted that her country supported a two-state solution even though it had opposed the resolution in support of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
PLO ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi pointed out that the two-state solution is predicated upon exactly that right. [see Just world News on this item]
Israel to continue building in east Jerusalem
By AMY TEIBEL (AP) – 49 minutes ago
JERUSALEM — Israel insisted Friday it would continue building in contested east Jerusalem, taking an uncompromising stance against U.S. pressure following a tense visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington.
The refusal to change long-standing Israeli policy signaled that a high-profile rift between the U.S. and Israel remained wide, with stalled Mideast peace talks caught in the middle.
“The prime minister’s position is that there is no change in Israeli policy on Jerusalem,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement…..
Listen to the Arabs
By PARAG KHANNA
I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor, March 25, 2010
We also fail to understand the Arab strategic reality. If Arabs are supposed to be lining up with the United States and Israel to contain the hegemonic ambitions of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then why did Syria host a “war council” of Iran and Hezbollah in Damascus last month? And why is Qatar exploring gas fields jointly with Iran?
The fact is that most Arabs prefer a modus vivendi with Iran — just as many tacitly collaborate with Israel on matters of mutual interest.
Rather than seeing themselves as trapped between Israel and Iran, the most common Arab objective seems to be to limit excessive American influence in their region.
Americans widely believe that the Arab world was elated by the election of President Obama over a year ago. That is so, but not because the Arabs want strong American leadership in their region; they’d prefer to run their own affairs with minimal American interference. From engaging Hamas to negotiating with Iran, Arab states are taking matters into their own hands. And that’s good…..
Parag Khanna is a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation and author of “The Second World: How Emerging Powers are Redefining Global Competition at the 21st Century.”