Israeli Official Says Peace Process, Not Attack On Iran, Is Top Security Concern

Shaul Mofaz, leader of the centrist Kadima party in Israel that recently formed a coalition with the right-wing Likud party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu, said in an interview with the Washington Post that on his frist trip to the United States as Israel’s vice prime minister he will appeal for American support for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which according to the Post, he called “the greatest threat to his country”:

What keeps him awake at night is Israel’s drawn-out conflict with the Palestinians and the prospect that it could cause the demise of the Jewish state if Arabs eventually outnumber Jews in Israel.

Time is not in favor of the state of Israel,” Mofaz, 63, said in an interview in this central Israeli city, where Kadima, the centrist political party he leads, is based. “The generation of the leaders today should decide. This year, next year — we have to decide.” […]

“It’s about time,” Mofaz said repeatedly, as if practicing a talking point ahead of his visit to Washington, where he is scheduled to begin meetings on Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. security officials.

Mofaz favors a two-state solution, and has offered a plan to create an interim Palestinian state that would eventually give Israel major Jewish settlement blocks in the West Bank in exchange for land swaps with the Palestinians. However, experts note that Mofaz’s demands probably won’t go very far given Kadima’s weak position.

But Mofaz, who has spent his career in the Israeli military, has previously spoken out against a rush to attack Iran over it’s nuclear program and told the Post that there is still time for a diplomatic solution. “Speaking about an Israeli use of force, it is only when the sword will be on our neck and we see that no one is going to act and there is no other option. And today this is not the situation,” Mofaz said. “There is, today, time and room for diplomacy and for sanctions.”