Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon addressed a conference at Tel Aviv University, commenting on two issues of utmost importance to the Israeli defense establishment: The Iranian nuclear program and peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
The defense minister referred to the latest casualties of terror acts as "victims of the diplomatic process," insisting he had never met a Palestinian leader – including current PA President Mahmoud Abbas – who could announce the end of the conflict, even in exchange for territorial compromise.
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"We used to call them victims of peace," he added, "and now they are victims of the diplomatic process."
Regarding the escalation of violence in the West Bank, Ya'alon said, "I have no doubt that what is happening now is the result of the political process."
The defense minister addressed the disillusionment he underwent as the director of military intelligence: "I was also a supporter of Oslo, but I sobered up when I was head of military intelligence."
'I hope we don't have to say I told you so'
Speaking at the defense conference, Ya'alon also addressed the issue of a nuclear Iran, saying: "The Iranian regime dreams of defeating the West ... As head of military intelligence in the '90s, it took me two years to convince the Americans that the Iranians are developing a nuclear military weapon and we convinced the Europeans only in 2000."
Ya'alon noted, "I estimate that there will be a deal because the West is eager to make a deal although it does not have to. This is not the way to behave in the Middle East.
"This is a horrible mistake we're trying to prevent. It's important to clarify the Tehran regime – bomb or survival," he said, suggesting that Iran must choose between developing a nuclear bomb and ensuring its survival.
"I hope we don't have to say I told you so."
The defense minister used Syria as an example of successful international peer pressure, saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad only destroyed Syria's chemical weapons after he realized the international's community's threat against his country was concrete.
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