Ya’alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff and Commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, addressed in his remarks the disastrous Oslo Accords.
“In 1992 I had in my region seven casualties,” he said. “In 1993, I had six casualties, and we read in the Israeli newspapers that the situation is not sustainable so we went to Oslo to solve the problem, and we absorbed more than 1,000 casualties as a result of Oslo.”
He added that the situation which exists in the region today is sustainable. “Of course, the conflict [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] hasn’t been solved,” he said, “and I don’t think we should talk about solutions. We should talk about how to enhance our interests in the right way.”
Addressing the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, Ya’alon said that more sanctions are needed against the Islamic Republic, including what he termed “political isolation.”
“How come President Ahmadinejad of Iran, who calls to wipe Israel off the map, is welcomed in the General Assembly or in Columbia University?” he asked. “This is not political isolation. It hasn’t been implemented yet as a tool.”
He expressed hope that the economic sanctions against Iran also intensify, as they are “a very effective tool in a dilemma [of having to choose between] a nuclear bomb or survivability.
“We call for the intensification of the economic sanctions on Iran and to deal with those who help Iran to bypass these sanctions,” he said. “This tool hasn’t been exercised in the way that we believe it should be exercised.”
A military option against Iran, said Ya’alon, should be the last resort, but added that “in order to convince the Iranian regime that we are determined to deal with it, we should demonstrate a credible military option.”
He emphasized that by “we” he means the West and not just Israel. “It is not just Israel versus Iran,” he stressed. “It’s Iran versus the western world. They say that we’re only the minor Satan and that the great Satan is America. America is not just the United States.”
Ya’alon also addressed the Palestinian Authority’s plan to seek recognition of a state at the UN General Assembly, and said this idea will not serve the interests of Israel, the PA, and even the United States.
The reason for this, he explained, is that achieving recognition of a state would not give the PA any incentive to return to the negotiating table. He added that ultimately, establishing a Palestinian state unilaterally will result in the formation of a “failed and hostile entity” and noted that such a state is destined for failure since, as he explained, “you can’t talk about a viable Palestinian state without any strong economic connections to the State of Israel. Their economy is based on us.”