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Former Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin Photo: AP
Former Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin Photo: AP
 
 

Ex-Shin Bet head: Lack of peace bigger threat than Iran

In conference, former Shin Bet head Diskin slams Netanyahu, Bennett for placing settlements above peace. 'No Israeli-Palestinian peace deal poses bigger existential threat than nuclear Iran,' he claims

Itay Blumenthal
Published: 12.04.13, 22:44 / Israel News

Former Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's administration for its handling of peace talks currently underway with Palestinians.

 

According to the former Shin Bet chief, the lack of a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians poses a greater threat to Israel than Iran's nuclear program. In a conference held in Tel Aviv Museum marking ten years to the Geneva Initiative, Diskin called for the formation of a new government coalition formed of pro-peace parties.

 

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"It may now be the last opportunity to reach a two-state solution. The Geneva Initiative proposes a correct foundation for an agreement. Any accord has a low chance of survival without a regional agreement," said Diskin. "The implications of no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict pose a bigger existential threat than the ones of a nuclear Iran," he stated.

 

Diskin called on prioritizing the sanctity of the people over the sanctity of the land, and to turn Israel into a country that does not require the occupation of another people. He added that Israel must freeze all further construction in the settlements, and said that the amount of settlers in the West Bank has reached proportions that no government could uproot.

 

He further claimed that the move to free Palestinian prisoners "is a disgusting and cynical move that was born out of a desire to avoid freezing settlement construction."

 

Commenting on the peace process, Diskin noted "like an economic crisis, just the existence of hope can facilitate a process of growth. How do you do it? Those who were chosen and are known as supporters of the two-state solution need to implement a change in the current political map. In other words, there needs to be a coalition in which peace supporting parties are partners."

 

Taking a jab at Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who called the Palestinians "shrapnel in the rear end," Diskin responded to a question regarding future issues that might arise from any peace deal, by saying "I can't comment on these issue like 'shrapnel in the rear-end,' as one of our ministers said. For me, one of the pressing issues is the question of who is the shrapnel and who is the rear end."

 

On Prime Minister Netanyahu's leadership in regards to the peace process, Diskin said that "the leaders of both sides, those who are suppose to lead, create hope and inspire the masses, are weak and are too busy playing the blame game."

 

The issue of releasing Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also received a scathing review from the former Shin Bet head: "A peace deal mandates even the release of prisoners, but it is wise to do so only in the final stages of an agreement. The deal that took place was immature in such a manner that it inspired very justified public criticism."

 

He warned: "The most dangerous thing for the Palestinian society is that it has no future, it only has a past. The common future with us no longer exists. But the Arab Spring phenomenon, which may also occur here, cannot be ignored, as it may lead to a dead end. Heaps of Palestinian youths that were born into occupation are distressed, frustrated and hopeless. There are tensions within the Israeli society between a Jewish majority and an Arab minority that too can burst out."

 

"The trickling of attacks in the past month and even the outburst of the Bedouins in the Negev due to the Praver outline could erupt into masses of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis taking the streets – that is a likely scenario."

 

 

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