New York The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has described the Saudi so-called peace initiative, first announced in 2002 and reappearing now in Middle East diplomacy, as a plan for Israels destruction and urged the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert to reject it. The Saudi initiative demands, in return for Arab recognition and “normalized relations,” Israels withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 armistice lines; the creation of a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital; and the Israeli acceptance of the morally and legally baseless so-called right of return by Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendants to Israel, thereby inundating Israel with hostile Arabs and ending its existence as a Jewish state.
Under the terms of this plan, Israel would have to surrender not only eastern Jerusalem with its holiest Jewish sites, but also all of Judea and Samaria, where over 400,00 Israeli Jews live, including the strategically vital Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. Moreover, the Saudi initiative insists on the right of return and rejects any substitute for it, assuring “the rejection of all forms of Palestinian partition which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries,” meaning the rejection of the settling of the refugees and descendants in neighboring Arab countries and the granting of citizenship to them. All previous Israeli governments have rejected the right of return as unacceptable and incompatible with Israels continued existence as a Jewish state. The Olmert government has been seeking the dropping of the right of return from the initiative but Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Saudi Saud al-Faisal, has ruled out any alteration in the initiative, as have the Arab League, which adopted the initiative when it was first produced in 2002, as well as Egypt and Syria.
Caroline Glick, Managing Editor, Jerusalem Post, and Middle East Fellow, Center for Security Policy, Washington, D.C.: “This Israeli surrender would enable the formal establishment of a Palestinian terror state. It would also strengthen Irans principal ally – the Syrian Baathist regime … Without Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, Israel would be so vulnerable to missile and artillery attack that it could be overwhelmed even before conventional invading Arab armies set foot on its remaining territory … As a reading of the Saudi plan makes clear, it would only be after Israel surrendered all this land and allowed itself to be overrun by millions of hostile Arab immigrants that the Saudis and their Arab brethren would establish normal relations with Israel. That is, the Saudis will be ready to talk to Israelis only after Israel is destroyed” ( Jerusalem Post , December 4, 2006).
- Zalman Shoval, former Israeli ambassador to the United States: “a recipe for the destruction of Israel” ( CNS News, March 13); “Israel cannot accept the matter of returning to the Green Line, the 4th of June 1967 border, as a precondition” ( Voice of America , March 13).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The Saudi so-called peace initiative is nothing other than a plan to see Israel destroyed by weakening and reducing her in size, depriving her of vital strategic territory and her Jewish majority, thus enabling Arab states to avoid coming to a genuine peace with her. As such it is no different from arch-terrorist Yasser Arafats “stages plan” whereby Israel was to be destroyed by wresting concessions form Israel, setting up a Palestinian regime on territory vacated by Israel and continuing the war to destroy her from these improved positions.
“It is no coincidence that the so-called right of return is an essential element of the plan, as indicated by the passage in its text which rules out the resettlement of Palestinian Arab refugees and their millions of descendants and indeed any other plan which does not entail their inundating Israel, turning its Jewish population into a minority and thereby ending Israel as a Jewish state. The Arab League and individual Arab states have ruled out altering the plan, which tells you a lot about their anti-peace, extremist intentions. What would happen to the 400,000 Jews living in these areas to be vacated by Israel and handed over to a Palestinian state? All past Arab statements indicate they would be uprooted from their homes and expelled.
“We are deeply concerned that the Olmert government, in pursuing talks on the plan, is investing it with unmerited legitimacy which will harm Israels interests without obtaining any alteration in its content. The Olmert government is seeking to remove the right of return from the initiative, but this is only one unacceptable aspect of the initiative. Equally unacceptable are its calls for Israel to relinquish eastern Jerusalem with its holiest of Jewish sites, as well as all of Judea and Samaria, including strategically vital territory. Moreover, the plan does not even speak of ending Palestinian Arab terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder against Israel. As the ZOA has long argued, there should be no rewards or concessions to the Palestinian Arabs until their commitments to end terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan are fulfilled.”
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.