Despite all the pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions to the Palestinians during the last round of peace talks, the U.S. never formulated a comprehensive plan that would satisfy Israeli security requirements in the event of a withdrawal from parts of Yehudah and Shomron, says Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.
“There is no U.S. security plan, and the part that was presented was not enough,” Yaalon told reporters at the Defense Ministry on Monday, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The plan referred to was one under preparation by a U.S. team headed by Gen. John Allen.
Yaalon’s comments appeared to run counter to President Barack Obama’s comment in an interview earlier this month on Israel media, in which he maintained that “we have ways in which we could deal with [security] issues like the Jordan Valley.”
It also highlighted the vagueness of former U.S. Mideast envoy Martin Indyk’s statement in May 2014, soon after the breakdown of the negotiations, that “under the leadership of Gen. Allen, we have done unprecedented work to determine how best to meet Israel’s security requirements in the context of a two-state solution.”
Allen only presented part of a plan. And even that, Yaalon said, was not adequate to meet Israel’s security requirements.
Regarding renewed pressures on Israel to freeze construction in Yehudah and Shomron, Yaalon said that such discussions were premature.
“The settlement issue is an issue for final status negotiations,” he said. “I am opposed in principle to a freeze. [The Palestinians] want to drag us to discussing the settlements or borders, where they will get things, not have to give anything in return. I am not there; this has to be done only in final-status negotiations.”
As for the insistence by the Europeans and Americans that Israel must take initiatives for peace, he disagreed.
“The ball is not in our court,” he said. Rather, the onus should be on the Palestinians — who have taken unilateral moves such as going to the ICC with charges against Israel — to show their willingness to negotiate directly and in good faith.