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Ex-security chief says Israel must return to talks
Published Tuesday 08/01/2013 (updated) 03/02/2013 10:30
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A worker moves ballot boxes for the upcoming Israeli election at a
warehouse near Tel Aviv before they are shipped to polling stations
Jan. 7, 2013. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel faces the prospect of a new Palestinian uprising because of despair over the gridlock in peacemaking, a former head of the Israeli internal intelligence agency who is standing in the Jan. 22 election said on Tuesday.

Yaakov Peri, running for the centrist Yesh Atid party, told Reuters in an interview that the next government must make peace negotiations with the Palestinians its foreign policy priority.

"Israel must do everything to come back to the negotiating table and find a compromise," he said, criticizing other leaders from across the political spectrum for playing down the issue.

The Israeli military has reported growing violence across the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, prompting warnings of a possible intifada (uprising) after years of relative calm.

"Are we on the edge of a third intifada? It is a real possibility because of the amount of despair coupled with the (political) stalemate," said Peri, who headed the Shin Bet security service from 1988 to 1994 - a time that coincided with the first intifada.

Shin Bet is responsible for overseeing intelligence gathering in the Palestinian territory and Peri warned that fundamentalist Islamist groups hostile to Israel would seize the initiative if there was no peace initiative.

He added that another Palestinian revolt need not be violent, but could evolve into a mass protest movement.

Peri's Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party is led by former television news anchor Yair Lapid. It is projected to win up to 10 seats in the 120-seat parliament and has not ruled out joining a coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

US-brokered direct peace talks broke down in 2010 in a row over continued Jewish settlement building on land where the Palestinians want to establish their own independent state.

Mutual recrimination now reigns. Netanyahu says he sees no partner for peace and President Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel, with its settlement expansion, of destroying the so-called two-state solution.

Further complicating matters, the Palestinians are deeply split, with the Islamist group Hamas in sole charge of the Gaza Strip.

Good faith needed

However, Peri said he was certain a deal could still be reached, despite the fact that more than 500,000 Israeli settlers have put down roots in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which were seized by Israel in a 1967 war.

"It is doable, but not easy. I wouldn't say there is hatred, but a complete lack of faith. I think 50 or 60 percent of the issues are already agreed upon," he said.

Netanyahu has made security the focus of his election campaign, pledging to continue a settlement expansion program that has drawn international criticism.

While he looks certain to win re-election, his electoral support has been eroded by the rising prominence of a far-right party led by Naftali Bennett - a former settler leader who wants to annex 60 percent of the West Bank.

Shelly Yachimovich, the leader of the main opposition, center-left Labour party, which was once synonymous with the peace movement in Israel, has tried to avoid the issue for fear of alienating the settler vote.

"The extreme right refuses to deal with the diplomatic issues at all and is hiding its head in the sand. Yachimovich is aiding and abetting the right without presenting the alternative," said Peri.

"The only solution is a return to the negotiating table."
1 ) Sami, the bedouin. / Palestine
08/01/2013 21:19
In 1993, after 26 year of occupying the West Bank, the number of the settlers was only 120, 000 in scattered settlements. As the whole world was talking of peace the Zionists were faking a “peace” process of Oslo while hectically busy in doubling the number of settlers in only 7 years to be 250, 000 settlers in 1999 as Sharon stated it very clear :“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…

2 ) Outlier / USA
08/01/2013 23:52
Nothing will be settled without direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

3 ) ronen / israel
09/01/2013 01:09
#1 so why didnt you make peace then? or before? you where too busy "having the time on your side"? im disgusted with your whining. you chose the way of force because you thought you would win and now when you lost you whine. pathetic.

4 ) Both Equally Need & Risk / Israel & Palestine
09/01/2013 03:28
Yes, as the Ex-security chief says, that 1- "Israel must return to talks", if it is to have even a slim chance for peace, BUT it is also true that 2- Palestine must return to talks, if it is to have even a slim chance for a real "State of Palestine" !! And until Peace and Statehood are achieved, -a- Israel risks there being a another violent Palestinian uprising, and -b- Palestine risks there being more of the same Israeli counter-measures, like sealing-off Areas A/B, just like Gaza !!

5 ) Mel / USA
09/01/2013 17:26
Said "talks" have always been lies.A ponzi scheme,by Zionism&benefactors,to look "democratic"while EXPANDING Jewish Occupation,Zionist colonies,o/posts&Jewish"facts on the ground".80 yrs of increasing persecution by Zionism,& self-declared Israel on militarily-occupied land.Mutually respectful PEACE THREATENS Zionism,& its illegal expansion!USG underwrites brutal Israel! Knesset relies on radical settler votes,& ZIONISM THRIVES onVICTIMIZING Palestine via BIASED brokers! TALK ONLY 2 ICC,UN,A/L!

6 ) Around / World
09/01/2013 19:40
Next intifada will mean end of any possibilities for palestinian state. palestine will be forever nonmember nonstate of the UN.

7 ) @ Around-6 / USA
09/01/2013 23:41
The Palestine situation is bad, but it is NOTthat bad, where Palestine: 1- will be forever a non-member observer state AT the UN, and 2- it's sovereignty will be restricted to a "Palestine Desk" on the floors of the UNGA and withing the buildings of it's embassies "Around the World," BUT at best 3- Palestine will remain as it is today, with only the authority that Israel allows it have, unless it surrenders to Israel's demands for borders, security, recognitions, & ending the conflict !!!

8 ) JoeUSA / USA
10/01/2013 04:28
The big zionist Doberman is going to choke on the little Chihuahua West Bank/Gaza as it tries to swallow it whole....

9 ) Hilmi / Malaysia
10/01/2013 06:31
Arrogence Israel.. Should you go back to your own stealing land in Tel-Aviv.. why you want people to suffer ? owh right ! Israel has a monster leader Setanyahu... Elect a better leader that can change to a better world.. My messege to the Israeli or Arab Israel Palestinian that has Israel ID Card..

10 ) Israeli1 / Israel
10/01/2013 06:50
@1: if there were not a single settler, you would want the destruction of the settlements, only you would be calling Ashdod a settlement and then Tel Aviv. We are wise to you. We know your game and it is tiresome. If you are in "palestine" just consider yourself lucky to be ruled by Jews - lightly - and not by your fellows. You can try Jordan or KSA for a Bedouin ruled Kingdom. See if they meet your needs for freedom.

11 ) carlos / usa
06/02/2013 20:47
In 1900 Jewish Palestinians were less than 1% of Palestinian population. The Jewish pop in Palestine driven up by Nazi's getting rid of EuropeanJews for the purpose of destabiliziing British Palestine. The abused European Jew in Palestine took its anger out on the Palestinian native. Now Jewish Palestinians are almost 50% of the population but the pressure by Nazis have been relieved. It may take 100years but I expect Jewish Palestinian pop to decrease as a % until Jews r minority even in israel
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