City of Ariel

Archive for June, 1994|Monthly archive page

Gaza – Jericho Agreement

In Letters, National on June 16, 1994 at 11:15 am

Dear Friends,

Since the signing of Gaza – Jericho Agreement and the events that followed, Israelis are increasingly aware of the importance of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria for Israel and their own future. Even our current government has admitted – albeit occasionally and with some reluctance –  that Israel cannot return to the pre ’67 borders, what Henry Kissinger once referred to as “Auschwitz borders”. Thus, when we speak of territorial compromise, we must carefully consider what we are giving up. 

First, we must ask whether the Arabs would accept our compromise; for if our proposal is not acceptable to them, there is a little point in the disagreement between the Israeli “Left “ and “Right”. The PLO has made clear demands. They insist upon a Palestinian state within the borders of Israel. They are consistent in their demand that Jerusalem be the capital of that state. They will accept nothing less, and I quite frankly believe they want a great deal more. It is time our negotiators understood this. They must approach the negotiating table with a “give and take” attitude, rather than give and give and give… 

The Israeli government has claimed that the Jordan Valley will remain a part of Israel, if for no other than security reasons. Can it then cut the people of the Jordan Valley off from the majority of Israel residing along the Mediterranean Sea coast? They need a secure route to the Tel Aviv area. Maintaining the safe crossing will only be possible if Jewish life exists along that route. Again we see how important the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are to Israel’s security. 

This is why the growth and development of these vital communities is continuing. Here in Ariel, for example, construction is under way on a bank, new Israel Electric Company offices, and a General Health Fund (a Labor party affiliate) clinic. The City of Ariel is building a new Center for Performing Arts and Municipal Library, and is rebuilding its Sports Center. Ariel is also in the process of completing the infrastructure on 500 new housing units, and the community is looking forward to an additional 2000 residents who will take occupancy of those homes in the near future. 

Judea and Samaria are entirely different from Gaza and Jericho. The region has a mixed population, with Arabs and Jews living in adjacent communities. The government’s plan to extend the Gaza – Jericho Agreement to all of Judea and Samaria cannot work. Palestinian jurisdiction over this region will turn these communities into Jewish islands in Palestinian controlled sea. Would you entrust your own family’s welfare to Palestinian Arabs? Neither will we.  

You have been told that we are an obstacle to peace. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We did, in fact, support the peace initiative at Madrid, for we trusted Prime Minister Shamir to safeguard Israel’s security and welfare. The Madrid process would have maintained Israeli jurisdiction over the land while allowing Arab towns and cities full autonomy. Security was to remain in Israeli hands. That process could have led to peace with security. The current one can only foretell of future tragedies.

The constant attempts of this government to pull the wool over the eyes of the Israeli public is particularly painful. In order to solicit public support for the Gaza – Jericho Agreement, they sold them the promise of separation, particularly from the Arabs of Gaza. They neglected to mention the economic hardships that autonomy would bring to Gaza, or warn of the accompanying escalation in terror. 

We have just seen the harsh realities at the Gaza “border”. The rioting resulted in 18 wounded Israeli soldiers (shot by Palestinian police and other armed Arabs) and $8 million in property damage (including 157 burned Egged busses). Israel, of course, was blamed for not having properly trained their Palestinian colleagues. 

The Israelis believed that once the Gaza Agreement was signed, they could forget that Gaza existed. Today, they understand that this escalation in terror will not stop at the Gazan frontier, but will move easily and quickly into their own backyards. The Israeli government will be issuing 100,000 permits to Gazan Arabs to work in Israel. And many of these Arabs will be armed. 

This process cannot lead to peace. If it continues, it will lead inexorably to a Palestinian state and a rise in terror. We can only keep Israel strong by ensuring a Jewish presence that will dictate Israel’s borders. To achieve this, to aspire to any real possibility of a secure and lasting peace, we must continue to strengthen the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. 

Today, more than ever before, we need the direct support of our friends throughout the world. For none other than political reasons, the established Jewish organizations abroad will give no support to Ariel or the other communities in the region. We are dedicated and strong, but we cannot do it alone.

Now is the time. We need your help. Come and visit, meet the people of Ariel and the surrounding communities. Let them know that they are not alone. 

My own family and the people of Ariel join me in wishing all of you a happy and healthy New Year. May we all look forward to a year of happiness and good health, prosperity and joy, peace and security. 

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Member of Knesset

Mayor of Ariel