Speaking at the Herzliya Conference today, the former Chief of Staff said, "Conventional wisdom has it that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will bring stablity to the Middle East. It is also widely felt that the core problem is Israel's occupation [of Judea and Samaria] and that a two-state solution will solve the 100-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"These two mistaken assumptions," Yaalon said, "do not allow a new type of thinking that can truly solve the problem."

The Palestinians have no interest in a two-state solution with Israel, Yaalon said: "They have never agreed to any partition of the land. They objected to the Peel Commission's proposal in 1937, and to the UN's plan in 1947, and again in 2000 in Camp David. Arafat's rejection then of Ehud Barak's generous offer [of 95-98% of Judea and Samaria] and the war he launched instead showed that his goal was to prevent a two-state solution and, especially, the recognition of Israel... The fact that Kassams continue to fly from Gaza also prove this... Hamas has made it quite clear as well: they are interested in one Arab state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea."

Similarly, he said, "The objective of Hizbullah is not the liberation of southern Lebanon - but rather the destruction of Israel... World War III is currently underway; a clash of civilizations between the West and radical extremist Islam. Al-Qaeda did not arise because of Israel, and the State of Israel was not yet around when the Muslim Brotherhood was formed [in 1928]..."

"Therefore," Yaalon said, "in my opinion, a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not bring calm to the Middle East... The lack of an authoritative Palestinian leadership that is capable or willing to implement a two-state solution, and the fact that an entire young Palestinian generation is being brought up on hatred and death, shows that the two-state paradigm is not relevant now, if at all."

Listeners to public taxpayer-supported Israel Radio were prevented from hearing Yaalon's words, as broadcaster Gabi Gazit cut off the broadcast after three minutes. Gazit said he would return to the speech if Yaalon said something more "actual and hot." On the other hand, Gazit "allowed" the broadcast of the left-wing speech of Defense Minister Amir Peretz nearly in its entirety.

"We have experienced too many golden calves in the past years," Yaalon said, "that were supposed to give us hope and provide quick solutions. What we need is leadership that will give true solutions, not spins."

Among these quick-fix "golden calves" was, presumably, Ariel Sharon's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Shomron. Yaalon was replaced at the IDF helm by Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz shortly before the Disengagement, after Yaalon said the withdrawal would strengthen terrorism.

"Unilateral Israeli concessions will only strengthen Islamic Jihad and terrorism," Yaalon emphasized again today. "International pressure upon Israel for further concessions, or unilateral Israeli withdrawals, are seen as weakness and will only encourage them to continue to attack Israel and the West."

Regarding Iran, the former IDF head said that we must stop thinking in terms of an immediate solution, and rather seek a long-range approach: "There is no choice other than a conflict with the Iranian regime. The entire world must understand that the Iranian problem is not a local one, and that the transfer of technological and financial means to Iran must be stopped immediately... Those who do not prevent the transfer of these means are bringing the conflict closer. The Syrian and Iranians must be punished by the world; they pushed Hizbullah to war but were not punished."

Regarding Israel's preparedness for the recent war in Lebanon, Yaalon said, "The problems were not in the soldiers or the equipment, but rather a failure of military and political leadership. With the upcoming changes of personnel, I am confident that the army will return to itself very quickly."

Asked about his own role in Israel's lack of sufficient preparedness for the war - Yaalon was Chief of Staff from 1992 to 1995 - he said that he will be happy to answer this question after he testifies on the matter before the Winograd Commission. The commission, headed by former Tel Aviv District Court Justice Eliyahu Winograd, is investigating the events and preparations leading up to the summer's Lebanon War.

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