THE AD READS: ‘Soon we will be the majority.’.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A group of 250 former top security officials on Sunday began a campaign calling for an immediate separation from Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Commanders for Israel’s Security, a nonpartisan group of former senior security officials from the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and police, took out full-page ads in leading newspapers and also on billboards on the sides of major highways.
Written in Arabic: “Soon we will be the majority” and “Palestine: One state for two people” in English, the group urges Israel to separate from the Palestinians in the West Bank to keep Israel’s Jewish identity.
The campaign also includes videos and recordings of the group’s members saying: “Are the billboards bothering you? Us too. But they will disappear in a few days. Those who won’t disappear are the two and a half million Palestinians in the West Bank. They want to be the majority – and this is what we want to annex? If we don’t separate from the Palestinians, Israel will be less Jewish and less secure. We need to separate from the Palestinians now!” In reaction to the campaign, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett wrote on Facebook, “Don’t waste your money on a campaign for Palestine, it won’t happen [the establishment of a Palestinian state].
“A group of ex-security system people from the Left bought ads worth millions of shekels trying to persuade the Israeli public to create Palestine here,” he added.
“After your success in the Oslo Accords and in the [2005 Gaza Strip] disengagement, which you promised would give us security, and after your achievement with giving up the Golan Heights and giving them to Assad, how you dare you show your faces? “So save your money and write this down: We will not allow the establishment of Palestine in the heart of our land.”
MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said these commanders made a great contribution to Israel’s security and they deserve thanks for all the days and nights that they spent for the security of Israel, but their opinions are relevant “only in the ballot boxes during fair elections.”
“They were not chosen there. The people of Israel have chosen a national government,” he said.
“We all know where the bloody Oslo Accords led us. A Palestinian terrorist state never existed here and never will exist. We will forever have here Israeli control, with an administrative Palestinian autonomy, for the sake of Israel’s security and the stability of the whole region,” Yogev said.
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh said the two-state solution is the right path, but portraying the Palestinians as the enemy is dangerous.
“This is not a peace campaign; this is a campaign of hatred toward Arabs,” he said. “It is also ugly and irrelevant. But in current public atmosphere and in times that the prime minister marks the entire Arab population as the enemy it becomes also dangerous. Creating a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel is a clear interest of both nations but it is mainly the moral and just right of the Palestinian people. It is clear, though, that the path there will not be paved by joining those who incite. Whoever sees in Arabs a danger will not accept us as partners, and if they will not see us as partners, we will never achieve peace,” he told The Jerusalem Post
According to the group’s website, the members have 6,900 cumulative years of service in Israel’s security forces and “are motivated solely by a concern for the State of Israel, and a feeling of responsibility for the future of the country and the well-being of our children and grandchildren.”
The group says claims that a political arrangement would undermine Israel’s security is false, stating instead that “a political arrangement will enhance security.
The IDF can provide an effective response to any security challenge, and its strength provides the Government of Israel with the negotiating space required to achieve peace arrangements.”
The group said the “realities in the Middle East make it necessary, and the Arab Peace Initiative makes it possible to achieve a combined agreement – with the Arab states and the Palestinians – that significantly enhances Israel’s national security interests.”
In 2014, the group, numbering 103 senior retired officers, wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to preserve prospects for a two-state solution by adopting the Saudi Peace Initiative as a basis for negotiations with the Palestinians. The group urged Netanyahu to take unilateral action by freezing settlement construction east of the security fence, encouraging settlers to move back to Israel proper, and for Israel to categorically renounce territorial claims to Palestinian land.
The letter also called for completing the entire security barrier between Israel and the West Bank as well as keeping the IDF’s presence there until a permanent agreement has been found, and to draft a plan for a Palestinian Jerusalem.
The group also calls for “an Israeli regional initiative,” which would “allow for more effective handling of security threats, strengthen the cohesiveness of the Israeli society, and create dramatic political, security and socioeconomic transformation and solidify Israel’s international standing.”
According to the group, the only way to prevent the creation of a binational state would be to come to an agreement with the Palestinians based on the principle of the two-state solution with 1967 borders with any “arrangements and adjustments as dictated by Israel’s security and demographic needs.”