Former IDF Chief Yaalon: Dividing Jerusalem Will Bring Neighborhoods, Ministries & Schools In Terrorists’ Rocket Range
November 26, 2007

New York — The former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief-of-Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, warned strongly yesterday against Israel making any territorial concessions on Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority (PA) saying, “One must be blind not to see that dividing the capital will bring the neighborhoods of Jerusalem, government ministries and schools into the range of Qassem [rockets].” Addressing a Jerusalem rally against the division of Jerusalem convened by the One Jerusalem organization, Yaalon said that those who believed an Israeli withdrawal from Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem would lead to stability had not learned the lessons of the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, the consequences of which, he said, Israeli residents along the border with the Gaza Strip were confronting on a daily basis. “Whoever runs away from terrorism will find himself chased by terrorism … We cannot let blind politicians divide Jerusalem.” The rally was also addressed by U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA), who observed that, “Gaza proved that the IDF is not the cause of terrorism, but the necessary result of it” ( Jerusalem Post , November 25, 2007).

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has suggested handing over to the PA ceding as many as six Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem as part of a final peace agreement with the Palestinians, while Vice Premier Haim Ramon favors handing over all Arab neighborhoods of the city except those around the Old City. Both sets of concessions, if made, would enable Palestinian terrorists to strike all parts of Jerusalem with the barrages of rocket fire, like those directed against cities like Sderot and Ashkelon near Gaza on a daily basis.

General Yaalon was an opponent of the 2005 Gaza withdrawal, warning that it would “blow up in the our faces” by leading to the creation of “the first jihadist Arab entity” on Israel’s doorstep, and that was “the last nail in the coffin” in a string of faulty conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that had characterized Israeli and Western policy for decades. Yaalon said that these faulty conceptions included the beliefs that the Palestinians want — or were able — to establish an independent state within the pre-1967 armistice lines; that the creation of a Palestinian state within those boundaries would solve the conflict; that land-for-peace was the basis for any peace agreement; that peace would bring security, and that the key to stability in the Middle East was the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yaalon said regional stability was not dependent on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as many Western leaders argue, but on the defeat of jihadism, led by the Iranian regime (Jerusalem Post, July 4, 2007).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “General Yaalon has been making repeated warnings about the nature of Israeli and American misconceptions, including the idea that territorial concessions to the PA will produce either peace or calm. It will do neither and this is particularly so in the case of Jerusalem. Dividing the heart of the Jewish people, which is what Jerusalem is, will not only fail to bring peace, it will ensure that every neighborhood of Jerusalem is subjected to the same daily terror and chaos which afflicts the residents of Sderot and other cities close to Gaza, the last piece of territory Israel turned over to the PA. Sderot has been turned into a ghost town, with almost half of its residents having fled for safer parts of the country and the remainder afraid to go about their business or send their children to school. We dare not allow that fate to descend upon Jerusalem, quite apart from the special sanctity that attaches to this city, the only one with a Jewish majority since the mid-1800s and which is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible but never once in the Quran. Under Jordanian rule, the eastern half of the city was a backwater and no Arab leader other than Jordan’s King Hussein even visited the place. We earnestly appeal to the Olmert government to make no concessions to the PA, particularly on Jerusalem.”

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