Former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold argued in front of the US House Foreign
Affairs Committee on Tuesday that pressure mounted by countries like France,
Britain and Germany for a full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines poses
unacceptable risks and contradicts international commitments given Israel in the
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“The idea that the Quartet would dictate to Israel the 1967 lines
and set the stage for an imposed solution serves this Palestinian interest, but
not the interest of achieving real peace,” Gold said, in a statement prepared
for the committee.
“European support for such initiatives would
contravene the very peace agreements they signed in the past as witnesses,” he
said. “It would set the stage for further Palestinian unilateralist initiatives
at the UN in September and deal a virtually fatal blow to any
Gold, along with Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan and Brig.-Gen
(res.) Udi Dekel, was invited by committee chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to
testify before the committee. The hearing came about a week before the Quartet –
made up of the US, EU, Russia and the UN – is expected to meet.
France, Germany and the UN secretariat have been lobbying the Quartet to call
for a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, with agreed-upon land swaps.
Israel is lobbying against the move, which is expected to be one of the topics
of discussion when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets German Chancellor
Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.
Gold told The Jerusalem Post that
although he updated the Prime Minister’s Office on the content of what he would
say, he was not representing the government or Netanyahu.
that Gold heads, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, put out a monograph
last year titled “Israel’s critical security needs for a viable peace.” It
spelled out why the 1967 lines did not provide Israel with secure and defensible
Both Dekel and Dayan wrote articles in that
Dayan, a former IDF deputy chief of General Staff and
national security adviser, spoke to the committee about the need to keep the
Jordan Valley under Israeli control. Dekel, who is a former head of the IDF
Strategic Planning Division and was a key negotiator with the Palestinians when
Ehud Olmert was prime minister, spoke of how a return to the 1967 lines would
deprive Israel of the depth necessary for air defense.
With Israel in
control of the West Bank, Dekel said, the country is only 40 nautical miles
wide, which means a combat aircraft can fly across in four minutes.
in his statements, said that traditional US policy – dating back to UN Security
Council Resolution 242 and reaffirmed in George W. Bush’s letter to then-prime
minister Ariel Sharon in 2004 – recognized that Israel was not expected to
withdraw from all the territories captured in the Six Day War.
these demands on Israel, “problematic in any event,” were being proposed “at the
worst possible time – that is, precisely when the entire Middle East looks like
it is engulfed in flames.”
He said the “degree of strategic uncertainty
for Israel, given current political trends around it, has increased
Demanding that Israel withdraw to the 1967 lines, Gold said,
contravened the 1993 Oslo Agreements that envisioned a negotiated solution to
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Borders were to be decided by the
parties themselves and not be imposed by international coalitions or by
unilateral acts,” he said.
This commitment to a negotiated solution to
the conflict, he added, appeared explicitly in the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian
Interim Agreement, which included the signatures of then-president Bill Clinton
and officials from the European Union and Russia, who served as
Gold said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
“has no interest in a negotiated solution,” and instead “prefers to see the
international community impose territorial terms that are to its advantage
without having to formally declare an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict and
without having to recognize the rights of the Jewish people to a nation-state of
Speaking the day before his congressional testimony at an
event sponsored by the Emergency Campaign for Israel in Washington, Gold called
for changing the paradigm through which negotiations are approached.
have to have a security-first paradigm,” he argued, characterizing the approach
until now as one that has put diplomacy first. “Use diplomacy to protect
security – that’s the approach we have to take.”
He described current
efforts to carve out boundaries according to settlement population centers
rather than security considerations as misguided.
“The whole question of
Arab-Israeli peacemaking has become: How many settlers can I fit on the head of
a pin?” he charged. “That is simply an inaccurate misrepresentation of the
nature of the problem. The question of Israel’s future borders is directly tied
to Israel’s security.”
Ros-Lehtinen underscored the need to consider
Israel’s security requirements in opening Wednesday’s hearing.
make clear that with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, America’s top
priority remains ensuring Israel’s continued security. Israel cannot rely on the
Palestinians for its security,” she declared. “America and Israel love and seek
peace, but peace without security is no peace at all.”