Reuters reports that Netanyahu's intended National Security Adviser, Uzi Arad, believes that progress with the Palestinians is more likely than progress with Syria. But the very first order of business should be to "blunt the Iranian threat."
- Israel's prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu will likely shelve Israeli peace talks with Syria given its territorial demands and alliance with Iran, a senior adviser to Netanyahu said on Thursday. Uzi Arad, widely considered to be Netanyahu's choice for national security adviser, suggested Israel's new regional priorities may make negotiating with the Palestinians more viable than with Syria.
- "No one in his right mind would do a deal with Syria...if it remained aligned with Iran. It would just bring Iran closer to us," Arad said.
- Netanyahu may see "no meeting ground between Israeli strategic and defense aspects...and what the Syrians are currently ready to bring to the table," Arad said. "Whereas on the Palestinian track he does believe that in certain areas we can accomplish, very rapidly, much progress on the ground in the West Bank."
- Arad dismissed calls for Israel and its allies to reconsider their refusal to talk to Hamas until it softens its policies. "Its culture is extremist, is radical, is hostile, denies Israel's right to exist, and it belongs more in the camp of the Taliban and al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhoods of the world, all of which are very, very uncompromising."
- "The order of priority is: blunt Iran first, move vigorously on peace after, and based on that. Should you act in the wrong order...you will have a sterile, perhaps failed process with the Palestinians and at the same time you will end up with a nuclear Iran," Arad said.