ZOA Agrees With Israeli P.M. Olmert: Unilateral Withdrawals Brought Violence, Further Unilateral Withdrawals Pointless
January 9, 2007

69% of Israelis – Palestinians
want to destroy Israel

68% of Israelis — peace not possible

New York: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has publicly acknowledged that Israel’s past unilateral withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza have both brought violence which has convinced him that there is no point in Israel undertaking any further such withdrawals. In an interview yesterday with the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Olmert said that Israel’s “experience in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip is not encouraging. We pulled out of Lebanon unilaterally, and see what happened. We pulled out of the Gaza Strip completely, to the international border, and every day they are firing Qassem rockets at Israelis.” Olmert added that his so-called ‘convergence’ plan, which called for further unilateral retreats by Israel from most of Judea and Samaria, has been shelved (Haaretz, January 9).

At the same time, Olmert believes that a peace settlement based on a two state solution can be reached “through negotiations rather than [unilateral] withdrawal.” His statement about the possibility of a negotiated peace is at odds with a survey of Israeli public opinion that finds only a minority of Israelis (34%) currently support territorial concessions to the Palestinian Arabs. Also, 68% of Israelis believe that, even if Israel dismantled most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Palestinian Arabs would still be unwilling to conclude a peace agreement with Israel. Moreover, 69.5% of Israelis believe that if the Palestinian Arabs possessed the means to destroy Israel, they would definitely do so. The survey of 488 Israelis Jews was carried out by Professors Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann and was conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University on 1-2 January 2007 ( Independent Media Review and Analysis, January 9).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Prime Minister Olmert is certainly correct to recognize that unilateral territorial concessions to the Palestinians have brought Israel nothing except more bloodshed and insecurity, not peace and reconciliation. It has only encouraged more terrorism — appeasement always does. He is right to explicitly shelve his so-called ‘convergence plan,’ which would, if implemented, simply endanger Israel further and grant another huge victory to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations.

“At the same time, Prime Minister Olmert is badly mistaken in thinking that a peace agreement is currently available from the Palestinians. The overwhelming majority of the Israeli public now understands, as this new survey shows, that peace with the Palestinian Arabs is not possible, even if Israel were to make further huge concessions to them. In any case, with whom would Olmert negotiate such an agreement? With Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, who are not moderates interested in peace but terrorists committed to terrorism and Israel’s elimination, as made clear in Fatah’s Constitution (Articles 12 and 19)? Or with Hamas, which is dedicated in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews (Articles 7 and 15)? Both sides have murdered nearly 500 Israelis each in the past six years since the start of the Palestinian terrorist wave in September 2000.

“Rather than merely abandoning the illusion of unilateral withdrawal as the path to peace in order to embrace another illusion of a negotiated settlement with those committed to Israel’s destruction, the Olmert government should be making it crystal clear that Israel will consider no negotiations or rewards of any kind to the Palestinian Arabs until the Palestinian Authority fulfills its commitments under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan to arrest, jail and extradite terrorists, close the bomb factories and end the incitement to hatred and murder of Jews in the Palestinian Authority-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terrorism. Additionally, the Olmert government should not be instituting phony ceasefires in which Palestinian terrorists continue to rearm undisturbed and attack Israelis but should instead launch a concerted counter-terrorist offensive to destroy the Palestinian terrorist groups before they can cause even more harm with the heavy weaponry Egypt is allowing the Palestinian Arabs to smuggle into Gaza.”

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