Ya'alon: 'From the Ground Up'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) believes the approach to Palestinian aspirations for independent statehood must be built from the foundation up, not from the roof down.

"It is not this government's policy nor this country's interest to rule over the Palestinians, but just as you start building a house from the foundations and not the roof, they [the Palestinians] must enact reforms 'from the ground up,'" Ya'alon said.

Speaking with ministers and members of Knesset (MKs) at the first meeting of a committee called "Alternatives to the Two-State Approach," the former IDF (Israel Defense Forces) chief of general staff said meaningful negotiations must be built upon two foundational principles.

"Progress in negotiations with the Palestinians must hinge on their recognition of our right to a national Jewish home and on the Palestinian Authority's ability to control the territory," Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Ya'alon said.

Helping the Palestinian people establish in their goal of becoming economically independent is basic to future success.

"I don't see a chance for the existence of a viable entity in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) or the Gaza Strip, which would be economically independent," he continued.

"The economic gap between Israel as a first-world country and a third-world Palestinian entity is a recipe for disaster. The probability of the entity becoming hostile is very high," Ya'alon said.

"We have to free ourselves from this failed approach and its erroneous premise in order to allow for new patterns of thought," he said.

"In handling the Israel-Palestinian conflict, we should not apply terms like 'solution' in the foreseeable future. Rather the terms should be 'crisis management' or coping in the long-term. This strategy should maintain and strengthen [Israel's] interests while managing the conflict and working toward stabilization in the distant future," he said.

During the meeting, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) commended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on his recent visit to Washington.

"There was no round of applause [from U.S. congressmen], which means that the prime minister didn't yield [his principles]," Yishai said.

"After every visit by an Israeli prime minister that they [U.S. government officials] applauded, we ceded assets," the interior minister said.

"I am willing to give up the embraces and keep the assets," Yishai said.

"We keep trying to get the Americans to like us when we should be sticking to what we know to be true," he said.

Source: YNet news

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