Meretz leader pans Ya’alon’s comments on Abbas, peace
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Meretz leader pans Ya’alon’s comments on Abbas, peace

After defense minister says PA president won’t end conflict, Zahava Gal-on decries Netanyahu government as ‘obstacle to peace’

Meretz party leader MK Zahava Gal-on, 2011. (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90)
Meretz party leader MK Zahava Gal-on, 2011. (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

Meretz head Zahava Gal-on on Sunday denounced Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

In an interview on Saturday, Ya’alon said there would not be peace in his lifetime and decried Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as someone who is not a partner for a final agreement.

The defense minister’s comments revealed “the true face of the Israeli government,” Gal-on said. “This is a government on the extreme right which does not believe in peace with the Palestinians,” she added.

Last week, Gal-on had similar comments about Netanyahu, who the left-wing party leader said was engaged in “procrastination, whining and victimization” vis-a-vis a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

According to a News1 report Saturday, Gal-on said that the two-state solution was “in danger” and decried government demands that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” arguing that the Jewish nature of democratic Israel was secure and not dependent on Palestinian recognition.

On Saturday, speaking to Channel 2, Defense Minister Ya’alon said that the Palestinian leader was “a partner for taking, but not a partner for giving. He’s not a partner for a final agreement, at the end of which there is recognition of Israel’s rights as the nation state of the Jewish people, an end of the conflict and an end to all demands. He [Abbas] says this openly,” said Ya’alon.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon speaks at Tel Aviv University on Sunday, November 17, 2013 (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon speaks at Tel Aviv University on Sunday, November 17, 2013 (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni)

The Likud defense minister, a former IDF chief of staff who has filled in as prime minister when Benjamin Netanyahu is indisposed, said he believed full peace “won’t happen in my generation.”

Ya’alon panned Palestinian leader Abbas for making no concessions at all during the past eight months of negotiations with Israel. “He only received [released Palestinian] prisoners,” but made no concessions toward a peace deal, Ya’alon said of Abbas.

Ya’alon supported Netanyahu’s insistence that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “It’s impossible to make an agreement without recognition by the other side of our right to exist as the national state of the Jewish people in some kind of borders,” he said.

Abbas is set to hold talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday. Palestinian officials have repeatedly indicated that Abbas intends to reject Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” and will refuse to extend the talks past their April deadline.

AFP contributed to this report.

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