Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in an interview with Israel Hayom published today that he is “not looking for a solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but instead “looking for a way to manage the conflict.”
Asked if Israel can consider Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a partner for peace, Ya’alon said, “Abbas has never said that he recognizes us as the nation state of the Jewish people. He also never said that if a compromise is reached, even one that adheres to his vision of 1967 borders, it would end the conflict and the [Palestinian] demands. He never said that he has given up on demanding refugee rights. So where can we go with him?”
“[Abbas] is a partner for discussion; a partner for managing the conflict,” said Ya’alon. “I am not looking for a solution, I am looking for a way to manage the conflict and the maintain relations in a way that works for our interests. We need to free ourselves of the notion that everything boils down to only one option called a [Palestinian] state. As far as I am concerned let them call it the ‘Palestinian Empire.’ I don’t care. It is an autonomy if it is ultimately a demilitarized territory. That is not a status quo, it is the establishment of a modus vivendi that is tolerable and serves our interests.”
In a follow-up question, Ya’alon was asked if he rejects the idea of a two-state solution.
“Call it whatever you want,” he said. “The political separation has already happened, and it is a good thing that it has. We are not controlling the lives of the residents of Gaza or Judea and Samaria. This separation is important. I would encourage and reinforce governability, the economy and the residents’ ability to live in dignity and economic comfort. But to derive something so black and white from that? State or no state? Let’s put the terminology aside.”