Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, has criticised the country’s Deputy Prime Minister for “not understanding the conflict with the Palestinians”. Ehud Barak, who is also Israel’s Minister of Defence, suggested last week that Israel could withdraw unilaterally from the occupied West Bank in the middle of the current “political deadlock”.
Likud MK Ya’alon made his comment during a discussion organised by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “The one who thinks that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started and ended with the 1967 borders does not understand it,” he said, “since he does not know why the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, refused ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s suggestion about borders in Annapolis.”
Ya’alon pointed out that, “Remarks about unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank create deep holes in the ‘Iron Wall’, and the one who aims to attract Abbas to the negotiating table is not allowed to utter such things.”
“Iron Wall” is a reference to the theory propounded by Zionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky in 1923. “Zionist colonisation [of Palestine] must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”