As long as Palestinian children are taught to hate Israel and use violence, "there is no chance for peace" with the Palestinians, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe (Bogey) Ya'alon said Tuesday.
Speaking at a student union conference at Bar-Ilan University, Ya'alon explained, "As long as Palestinian children from the age of three are educated to hate us and blow themselves up among us - there is no chance for peace. As long as Israel does not appear on the maps of Palestinians textbooks - there is no chance for peace. As long as [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas claims there is no Jewish people, rather that Judaism is just a religion and therefore does not deserve a state - there is no chance for peace."
"A society that produces Qassam [rockets] instead of strawberries has no future," he added.
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Other leaders also commented this week on the stalled peace process with the Palestinians.
During a visit to the West Bank town of Beit El, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said, "the two-state solution is not essential to Israel's security.
"What is essential is the recognition of our right to live anywhere in the state of Israel - and this right [to settle the land] is what gives us security," he said.
Echoing the gloomy assessments of his colleagues, President Shimon Peres said on Monday, "The continuation of the conflict and the absence of negotiations between us and the Palestinians casts a dark shadow on Israel's image as a country that seeks peace and, moreover, constitutes a pretext for continuing to fan the flames of hatred against Israel, even in the framework of the demonstrations and protests that we expected as a result of the Arab Spring."
Addressing Israeli ambassadors in Jerusalem, Peres said, "I do not overlook the mistakes and errors that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad] have made, such as [Abbas's] meeting with the terrorist Amna Muna, but Israel will not have better partners for making peace."
Unlike his colleagues, Peres said he believed "it is ... possible to begin negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. I know that the problems between us will not be resolved in a day or a month, but it is possible to create a chain of agreements and means for resuming the peace process that could dramatically change Israel's position and put us back on the track of a country that seeks peace."
Earlier this month, several European members of the U.N. Security Council voiced significant concerns about the impasse in the peace process and criticized Israel for pressing ahead with new construction beyond the Green Line.
Council members were reacting to a briefing by U.N. assistant secretary-general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who told them the search for peace "remained elusive in a context of tensions on the ground, deep mistrust between the parties and volatile regional dynamics."
"Israel's continuing announcements to accelerate the construction of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including east Jerusalem, send a devastating message," the representatives of Britain, France, Germany and Portugal wrote in a joint statement.
The last round of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down around a year ago because of a dispute over Israel's expansion of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
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