Israeli minister: Obama repeating Gaza error

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon on Tuesday said US President Barack Obama’s plan to conclude an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal within two years is simply not realistic, and if he persists with it, another Hamas-ruled terrorist state will be born.

Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Yaalon said it would take at least five years to reach any viable long-lasting peace deal, and that trying to push through an “instant peace” would ultimately lead to disaster because of current realities on the ground.

Yaalon noted that Obama had refused to learn anything from the past 15 years of failed peacemaking, and especially from the disastrous handover of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians.

He said that in light of that history, the entire concept of the land-for-peace process had to be reexamined. Maybe, suggested Yaalon, a two-state solution isn’t the only, or even the best way forward.

Yaalon’s remarks came as US envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel and reiterated the Obama Administration’s demand that Israel immediately halt the building of all Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria to prepare the area for its transformation into “Palestine.”

While Mitchell asserted that the US would always be Israel’s best friend, he was adamant that Obama will not back down from his demand that Jews stop moving into those biblical lands.

But when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mitchell received the same reply Obama had when Netanyahu visited Washington last month: Israel will not build any new settlements, but will not halt the natural growth of existing communities so the American leader can forward his own agenda.

Even the opposition Kadima Party, which has been trying to make political gains over Netanyahu’s rift with Obama, admitted that it, too, could never agree to the president’s current demands.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, leading Kadima lawmaker Otniel Schneller said: “Kadima will never accept the demand for an end to natural growth. Kadima cannot accept it because it would cause a split and tear the party apart.”

There has been much speculation that Obama and his aides would like for the Netanyahu government to fall under the pressure they are applying so they can instead deal with Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.

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