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Jewish World Review
June 23, 2003
/ 23 Sivan, 5763
America does not want a new terrorist state to emerge. How to prevent it
In our quest for peace with the
Palestinians, three imperatives unite Israelis: Terror
must end, our borders must be secure, and the
Palestinians must abandon the goal of destroying
Israel. That is why we insist that the terror
organizations be dismantled, that we not return to
the indefensible 1967 lines and that the Palestinians
give up their claim to a "right of return" -- a
euphemism for destroying the Jewish state by
flooding it with millions of Palestinians.
Genuine Palestinian peace partners will accept
these elementary conditions for peace. But what
will happen when Israel finds such partners? What
kind of agreement can we reach?
We are told that Israel is faced with only two
options: either continue to rule over millions of
Palestinians or cede them full sovereignty over
Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Yet both options are
Israel does not want to rule the Palestinians. The
only reason our forces are deployed in Palestinian
cities and towns is to prevent the savage terror
attacks being launched from these places against us. As the terror subsides, we will be able to gradually
withdraw those forces.
As for ceding full sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, this is doubly wrong. First, most of Judea and
Samaria is barren and empty. The combined Palestinian and Jewish populations live on less than one-third
of this territory. But the empty swaths of disputed land, comprising the heart of the Jewish ancestral
homeland, are vital for Israel's security.
Second, full Palestinian sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza would so weaken Israel that it would
tempt the Palestinians to roll back the peace and use the strategically placed territory as a base for even
more lethal terror attacks on the shrunken Jewish state. Every time Israel was forced to cross the border to
root out terror, it would be accused by the United Nations of invading a foreign country and threatened
with sanctions. Thus, neither Israeli control over the Palestinian population nor full Palestinian control over
Judea, Samaria and Gaza is acceptable.
Let your voice be heard! To express your concerns about the administration's plan for the Holy Land, you may contact
President George W. Bush by fax: (202) 456-2461, (Andrew Card, Chief of Staff)
or by e-mail.
Dr. Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor, FAX (202) 456-2883, PHONE (202) 456-9491
Mr. Elliot Abrams, the Director for Near East and North African Affairs, at FAX (202) 456-9120, and by phone through his secretary Joanna, (202) 456-9121
Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000 or by e-mail form:
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1010 or by e-mail form
But there is a third option, one that offers hope for a realistic and responsible solution for Israelis and
Palestinians. The guiding principle is this: The Palestinians would be given all the powers needed to govern
themselves but none of the powers that could threaten Israel. Put simply, the solution is full self-government
for the Palestinians with vital security powers retained by Israel.
For example, the Palestinians would have internal security and police forces but not an army. They would
be able to establish diplomatic relations with other countries but not to forge military pacts. They could
import goods and merchandise but not weapons and armaments. Control over Palestinian daily life would
be in the hands of the Palestinians alone, but security control over borders, ports and airspace would
remain in Israel's hands. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed these ideas last year, and most Israelis
support him. Indeed, those Israelis who support a Palestinian state are in effect calling for limited Palestinian
sovereignty with Israel retaining control of vital security powers.
The greatest danger to peace and security in the world today is the notion of unlimited sovereignty applied
indiscriminately. In many flash points around the world, the right to self-government must not include
unlimited security powers. Otherwise, every ethnic group with a grievance will seek to establish its own
army, its own weaponry and eventually its own weapons of mass destruction.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the dangers posed by unlimited sovereignty applied indiscriminately are becoming
better understood. People increasingly recognize that in the 21st century, resolving conflicts in many trouble
spots will require modifications in the concept of sovereignty. Stability in the Middle East and elsewhere
will depend on our ability to free ourselves from the mistaken assumption that we must either rule over
hostile populations or grant those populations unlimited sovereignty. There is another way.
Do those in the free world calling for a Palestinian state really want unlimited sovereignty for the
Palestinians? Do they really want to have a Palestinian state with its own army, free to dispatch suicide
bombers all over the world? Certainly not.
But unlimited sovereignty will produce just that: a fanatical, dictatorial, armed terrorist state in the heart of
the Middle East. This state will threaten Israel, America and the entire free world. It will become a
university for suicide bombers with departments for every terror organization imaginable -- from Hamas to
Hezbollah to al Qaeda.
After toppling terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and in Iraq, America surely does not want a new terrorist
state to emerge. I believe all those who seek a durable peace will support the safeguards I have outlined
here. By insisting on these safeguards, we will not be thwarting peace but enabling the emergence of a
genuine peace that is stable, secure and ultimately successful.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading."
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Binyamin Netanyahu is a former prime minister and the current finance minister of Israel. Comment by clicking here.
11/18/02: Israel expects world's support not only when burying dead; but when fighting to defend lives against the forces of terror
09/12/02: There is only one way to establish a humane Middle East
04/19/02: The litmus test for authentic 'freedom fighters'
04/11/02: 'The motivating force behind terror is neither desperation nor destitution --- it's hope'
09/24/01: 'Today we are all Americans'
© 2003, Binyamin Netanyahu