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Ya'alon attacks Palestinian leadership and courts Saudi Arabia

In a pre-emptive move, Israeli Security Minister Moshe Ya'alon attacked the Palestinian leadership and held it responsible for the expected failure of the peace negotiations. In a speech at the Munich Conference on Security, he said that Israel could muddle through without an agreement with the Palestinians, and suggested that Israel should develop closer ties with Saudi Arabia as the two countries have common interests and enemies.

Ya'alon, responding to the warnings that there will be an anti-Israel boycott wave in the event of the negotiations' failure, commented: "I hope that we will reach an agreement with the Palestinians, but in case that does not happen, we can muddle through."

He also claimed that, "the settlements do not constitute an obstacle to the negotiations," explaining that: "Israel is interested in resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, but we must tell the truth and not delude ourselves about the real intentions of [Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, also known as] Abu Mazen. He is trying to escape, like Arafat had escaped earlier from Camp David. Abu Mazen was only forced to come to the negotiating table by Kerry. He has to answer three questions but he refuses to."

According to Ya'alon, the three questions for Abu Mazen are: "Is he ready, in a permanent solution, for the recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people? Can he pledge to end all claims and allegations? Including the right of return (i.e. signing a waiver)?"

In contrast, Ya'alon talked highly of Saudi Arabia, showing clear favouritism, saying that: "Israel and the Sunni camp, led by Saudi Arabia, have common interests and common enemies: Iran and the Shi'ite axis in the region, as well as radical Islam and Al-Qaeda."

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