Yaalon: For PLO, Oslo Was a Land Grab

Deputy Prime Minister rips into Palestinian Authority, says Israel will not discuss any more land concessions.

Gil Ronen,

Minister Moshe Yaalon
Minister Moshe Yaalon
Israel news photo: Yotam Frum

As the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership heads for the United Nations, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon (Likud) accused the PA of viewing the Oslo process as no more than a land grab.

"For the Palestinians, the diplomatic tool is an extension of the struggle. So, for the PLO, going to Oslo was not the achievement of a peace agreement but a means to get as much territory as possible, until [reaching] the situation we are in today."

PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is following the PLO's old "stages plan," he accused.   

In a lecture at the Jabotinsky Institute, Yaalon essentially said the PA understands only force, although he did not use these actual words. The speech is one of a series of weekly lectures hosted by the Jabotinsky Institute under the heading "The Iron Wall and Israeli Security."

"The Arabs perceived Israel as a state with a weakness: the home front. They thought that we are a society of 'cobwebs,' as [Hizbullah leader] Hassan Nasrallah said in 2000, [people] who appear strong from afar but when you touch them, they collapse. 'By attrition we will make you grow tired of the Zionist dream.'"

This Arab perception of Israel had a basis in fact in the 1990s, Yaalon said. "We folded after the Intifada, [we carried out] the retreat from Lebanon as the dead were being counted, and more. The Jibril Deal [in 1985, in which Israel freed 1,150 terrorists for three Israeli soldiers – Ed.], for instance, strengthened their 'cobweb' perception." 

The PA Arabs are opting for a unilateral declaration of independence "because they see that we do not bow to terror," he said. 

But Israel will stop talking about land with the PA. "We did not receive 'territories for peace' but 'territories for rockets,'" he said. "We will not enter a discussion on territory because this is the subject where we give and we get nothing in return."