Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Sunday that the Palestinian Authority, often touted as Israel’s “peace partner”, is no different from Hamas in its quest to undermine Israel, explaining that it simply uses different methods to achieve this goal.
"I supported Oslo but smartened up when I realized that Arafat considered it to be yet another stage in the negotiations,” Yaalon said at an event in memory of former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.
“To date, I’ve never heard any Palestinian leader, including Abbas, who was willing to say that a territorial compromise, even along the borders he dreams about, is the end of the conflict and an end to the demands, a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a waiver of the right of return,” Yaalon added. “Their unwillingness to recognize our right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people in some border, this is the obstacle to peace and is the root of the conflict.”
He noted that “the Palestinian Authority is no less hostile than the entity that runs Gaza, but tries to undermines us by using other means. They threaten a third Intifada. What do they want? For us to surrender as a result of the threat of violence. When you threaten with a third intifada, you implicitly give legitimacy to violence.”
Yaalon said that the latest victims of Arab terrorism were a direct result of the recently resumed peace talks.
“When there is a peace process, the Israeli issue comes up in the Palestinian media at the level of de-legitimization and hatred. They educate their children, in their curriculum, in the rhetoric, and when this increases then there are initiatives - not by terror organizations but rather by criminals - that turn into nationalistically motivated crimes. Our victims are victims of the diplomatic process. And when we stand firm and do not look like we are about to give up, that's when we receive quiet.”
The Defense Minister also raised the Iranian nuclear issue in his remarks, reiterating that the Iranians must be pushed to the point that they will have to decide between survival and a nuclear weapon.
“The Iranian regime is the most significant factor in the instability in the Middle East today,” he declared. “This regime is willing to invest and sacrifice. They invest in Afghanistan, Iraq (where they cause bloodshed to weaken it), Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Africa, South America, Asia, Europe. These are the arms of a regime that dreams of defeating the Western culture using terrorism and subversion against other regimes. And this regime wants nuclear weapons capability. We must not let it have this ability.”
Yaalon added, "Today there is no argument that the Iranian project is a nuclear-military one, with the aim of reaching a bomb. When the world began to impose sanctions, the Iranian regime concluded that it may not survive the economic crisis. That's why it made the decision to enter talks with the West. There is a willingness to ease sanctions too soon, to strengthen Rouhani. We say that anyone who wants peace should also be prepared for war. If it’s necessary to confront them, they should be confronted, anything so they don’t get a nuclear weapon. It is clear that what was proposed by the West would allow Iran to achieve something: sanctions relief on the one hand, and maintaining the enrichment capacity on the other hand.”
"I hope we will not have to say 'We told you so’, but rather that we’ll see that the sanctions exhausts themselves effectively, and will not be relieved before we see that Iran does not have a military-nuclear capability,” he concluded.