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Former Defense Minister, Courted by Labor Party: There'll Be No Peace, West Bank Can Hold Millions of More Settlers

Former Defense Minister, Courted by Labor Party: There'll Be No Peace, West Bank Can Hold Millions of More Settlers
'The illusion of peace has now evaporated,' said Moshe Ya'alon, but so has 'the illusion of a Greater Land of Israel'

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon expressed support on Thursday for continued Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank, but not independence, and said the territory could hold one or two million additional Jewish settlers.
After speaking at a religious girls’ school in Beit Shemesh on Thursday, Ya’alon was asked his views about Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and about evacuation of Jewish settlements more generally.
Ya’alon said that as army chief of staff he had opposed the withdrawal. “My home is the kibbutz,” he said. “The border is marked by the furrows of the plow. The border is marked by the children’s house. Where there is no children’s house, there is no army. If you want to hold territory, you need for there to be people living there.”
Turning his attention to the peace process with the Palestinians, he said: “On one hand, I don’t see prospects for a [peace] agreement in the foreseeable future. The gap between us is not bridgeable. They have not agreed to any proposal to divide the land. They are not prepared even to accept a state along the 1967 borders and a division of Jerusalem. From their standpoint, that’s just 22 percent of Palestine,” he said.
“I don’t foresee that they will have a leadership that will want to divide the land,” adding that he doesn’t foresee it among the leadership of Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority, or among Hamas, based in the Gaza Strip.
“On the other hand,” he said, “I don’t want a binational state,” noting that the Palestinians already have autonomy. “I say we will not evacuate Jews or Arabs. On the map that already exists at the moment, we can protect our interest that there not be a binational state. There won’t be settlers on every hilltop.”
Referring to the West Bank by its biblical name, the former defense minister said: “There is enough room in Judea and Samaria to settle one or two million more people in locations that suit us through a policy not to become a binational state. This is done through a policy that is thought out, not through illusions. The illusion of peace has now evaporated. The illusion of a Greater Land of Israel has also evaporated,” a reference to Israel’s remaining in control of all of the West Bank.
“Between the two, we need to find a way for [the Palestinians] to live in political autonomy, not voting for the Knesset but rather for their own parliament. There isn’t peace now here. There won’t be. We need to manage things wisely, looking to our interests. That’s true [with regard] to a Palestinian state, Syria [and] Lebanon. If we conduct things wisely, there will be unprecedented quiet.”
Ya'alon also said that since becoming Labor Party chairman in July, Avi Gabbay has been pressuring him to join the party.
Gabbay was the environmental protection minister, representing Kulanu, when he resigned in 2016 to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s firing Ya’alon and replacing him with Avigdor Lieberman. Gabbay has said privately he has no political differences with Ya’alon.

Chaim Levinson

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.818439Former Defense Minister Courted by Labor Party There will Be No Peace West Bank Can Hold Millions of More Settlers

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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