The former head of Israel's secret service Shin Bet, Ami Ayalon, has expressed doubts over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intention to achieve a two-state solution. "Chances of success are too low," he said.
In a joint conference with former President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering, Ayalon said: "For almost twenty years, Israelis and Palestinians have been negotiating, but we have not reached a solution."
The conference was organised by Blue White Future, an Israeli study centre, and provided a forum for several Israeli and European former senior officials to discuss important issues.
Ayalon believes the reason why the current negotiations will fail is because the head of the Palestinian Authority is too weak. "Abu-Mazen cannot offer the Israeli side today what he was able to offer five years ago," he said. "Even that was not enough."
He added: "I am sure that Netanyahu will not offer what former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert previously offered to Abu-Mazen."
Ayalon also said that the US is now weaker than before and it is no longer seen as an objective mediator in the peace process, thus it no longer has the power to draw the political map in the region.
Regarding Netanyahu's abilities to understand the political impact of an Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement, even on something like the Iranian nuclear issue, he noted that he does not trust Netanyahu's intention about peace and a two-state solution.
The former intelligence official explained that most Palestinians think Israel went to the Madrid peace conference because of the first Intifada, withdrew from South Lebanon under Hezbollah pressure and left the Gaza Strip in the wake of "Hamas terrorism".
Meanwhile, he stressed the importance of not creating another security vacuum similar to what happened in Gaza. "That led to Hamas winning control," he said.