Yuli Edelstein in Beit Aryeh
Yuli Edelstein in Beit AryehYoni Kempinski

Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s proposal for another unilateral withdrawal of Jews from Judea and Samaria proves that he has not learned from the “tragedy of Oslo,” Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said Monday.

Responding to Barak’s proposal in a newspaper interview that Israel force all Jews outside of major population centers to leave their homes or accept Palestinian Authority rule, Edelstein stated, “This is not a program of Disengagement but rather a program for [political] survival.” He accused Barak of “making the mistakes of a rookie."

The Cabinet minister listed previous failures, noting that “Barak supported the Oslo tragedy,” referring to the Oslo Accords that exploded in 2000 with the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.

"Barak also organized the IDF’s fleeing from Lebanon and acted on behalf of the Disengagement from Gaza and threw expulsion victims into hotel rooms,” Edelstein added. “He threw one million residents into bomb shelters,” he continued, referring to the post-Disengagement rocket onslaught on southern Israel.

Edelstein condemned Barak for proposing another Disengagement and being ready “to endanger an additional millions of Israelis with his absurd vision."

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Arutz Sheva, “ “The very idea of another one-sided unilateral withdrawal does not give the Palestinian Authority any incentive to return to negotiations and concede anything, especially when we have a leader [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] who has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will not even recognize the 1967 borders as an end of the struggle.”  

He charged the PA with engaging in “a gross lie” by suggesting that Arab-Israeli conflict began with the “1967 borders,” meaning the Temporary Armistice Lines that existed before the Six-Day War in 1967.

He said it also is a lie to suggest that a withdrawal will bring peace and quiet, and noted that the PA refused former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposal, which would have satisfied nearly all of the Palestinian Authority’s territorial demands.

“Barak’s proposal endangers the interests of Israel,” according to Ya’alon, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister.

“We see the policy of refusal of the Palestinian Authority, which submits preconditions for returning to the negotiating table, and it clearly is a procedure of evasion” from direct talks. 

Ya’alon said that even worse evidence that the Palestinian Authority’s “signatures are not worth anything” is the PA’s educational system, which “teaches children to blow us up.”