Any peace agreement with Palestinians should not involve the removal of Jewish settlements, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Friday.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Ya’alon wondered why Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) should be “ethnically cleansed” of Jews.
“Why do those areas have to be Judenrein [Jew free]?” he asked. “Don’t Arabs live here [among Jews] in the Negev and the Galilee? Why isn’t that part of our public discussion? Why doesn’t that scream to the heavens?”
A group of key advisors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now trying to respond to recent U.S. demands to stop building in northern and eastern Jerusalem.
“We cannot fold on Jerusalem,” Ya’alon said. “What is Jerusalem? It is Zion.”
“We disengaged politically in Judea and Samaria, and physically from Gaza,” he added. “The policy of the Netanyahu government is that we don’t want to rule over them [the Palestinians]. But not ruling over them does not mean we have to withdraw to the 1967 borders, which are indefensible borders; or that we have to divide Jerusalem in order to bring Hamas snipers into Jerusalem.”
Ya’alon warned that Israel’s previous abandonment of territory -- to Hezbollah in Lebanon 10 years ago and to Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2005 -- led to the strengthening of entities dedicated to Israel’s destruction.
He also told The Jerusalem Post that the Obama Administration has incorrectly diagnosed the problem in the Middle East as territorial, rather than as a refusal of Palestinians to recognize the right of the Jews to live on the land in any form.
“Those who want to continue the Oslo process, who want us to continue to give and give and give, without a Palestinian willingness to recognize our right to a national home, are cooperating with the phased plan for Israel’s destruction,” Ya’alon said.