Netanyahu ‘has no interest in negotiations’ with Palestinians, says former Israel security chief

Haaretz reports: The harsh criticism sounded by former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue of Iran on Friday were only the tip of the iceberg.

During the same speech in the “Majdi Forum” in Kfar Saba, Diskin blamed Netanyahu, not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for the freeze in the peace process.

“Forget the stories they tell you about how Abbas is not interested in negotiation,” said Diskin, adding, “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations.”

The former Shin Bet chief added, “I was there up to a year ago and I know from up-close what is happening. This government is not interested in solving anything with the Palestinians, and I say this certainty,” he added.

Diskin pointed the finger at Netanyahu. “This prime minister knows that if he makes the slightest move forward, then his well-established rule and his coalition will fall apart.”

“It’s simple,” he said, “Thus, no one has any interest in changing the situation. Abbas made mistakes, but this is beside the point. We as a people have an interest in this, but not this government. The problem becomes more difficult with every passing day.”

Diskin’s criticism of Netanyahu over the Palestinian issue is even more significant than his declarations over the Iranian issue. The reason for this is that the Shin Bet is the body responsible for the Palestinian issue on both the political and security-related levels, whereas the issue of a nuclear Iran falls under the Mossad’s area of expertise as well as that of Israel Defense Forces’ intelligence unit.

Diskin also warned that a “feeling of hopelessness” was developing among the Palestinians. He further stated that he was in contact with senior officials in the Palestinian Authority who tell him about “the lack of faith that something will change, especially in the West Bank.”

“In this kind of situation, when the concentration of gas fumes in the air is so high, the question is only when the spark will come to light it,” he said, adding: “It won’t happen tomorrow morning… but all the basic elements to allow it are there.”

Diskin also referred to last summer’s wave of social protests, indicated that part of the unrest was prompted by the weakening of the Israeli government’s control, saying that “control over what is happening beyond Gedera and Hadera [Israel’s center] is weak” both in “the Jewish respect and in the Arab one.”

According to the former Shin Bet chief, the protest was prompted by real and just reasons, adding, however that those who led it weren’t ready to pay a personal price in order to achieve their goals.”

“What’s the difference between the, quote-unquote, revolutionists in Rothschild Boulevard and those in Tahrir Square?” he asked, answering that there was a “small, but significant difference – the people in Tahrir Square were willing to pay the price, and the people in Rothschild Boulevard didn’t really.”

Diskin added that as “soon as the festival season was over and all the singers were done, as soon as the people were done taking a dump in the backyards of their neighbors in Rothschild, the summer was over and they went back to university.”

“In Tahrir Square people paid a price for their principles. If that doesn’t happen here, all this social justice thing will be another summer festival in Israel. I think that the people who led it, most of them, aren’t really willing to pay a price for it,” he said.

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