January 22, 2007

Gen. Yaalon: Occupation Is Not Root of Conflict

From Gen. Yaalon: Occupation Is Not Root of Conflict:

The Palestinian government and Hizbullah are seeking Israel's destruction, not just the end of the occupation, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon told the Herzliya Conference Monday. "The fact that Israel was attacked last summer from two areas it left strengthens the sense of a dead end, and proves that the root of the conflict is not the occupation of territories,"
Yaalon said.

He added that Hizbullah's aim was not the liberation of Lebanon, but the destruction of the State of Israel, and that the same was true of the Palestinian Hamas government.

Turning to the Iranian threat, Yaalon said: "We cannot avoid confrontation with the Iranian regime....The sense of self-confidence in Iran is growing, and they have not paid any price for
being a rogue regime. If we do not take political and economic steps, we are actually bringing a military conflict closer," he warned. "Iran is a rogue government that supports terrorism. It must be punished by the international community," he insisted.

He urged cooperation with Sunni elements that "view the Shiite hegemony as a threat to their existence." "Not all Muslims are jihadists...they too see what is happening in Gaza, and recognize that the culture of death is destructive. The West and Israel must make contact with

In response to a question as to the viability of the two-state solution, Yaalon said: "I know those who talk about a road map or call for pressure on Israel to take a step to solve the problem (are suggesting something that is) irrelevant. Withdrawal will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or solve the jihadi threat....The basis of our belief, that the other side wants two states, is false. I think there is deep understanding among the American public over this," Yaalon added.

"We tried to ignore the education in Palestinian society. Eventually we were surprised that (Palestinian) society, educated from kindergarten to become suicide bombers, acted as it did," Yaalon said. His comments were backed by former CIA Director James Woolsey, who said,
"As long as Wahhabis are running Palestinian education, and little boys are taught to be suicide bombers, I don't see any reasonable prospects for a settlement."