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Land for peace: A historical perspective by Martin Sherman (JNS)

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Oct. 18, 2019

Shimon Peres wasn’t the only one who eventually supported the land-for-peace doctrine and Palestinian statehood, having previously warned of the deadly perils this would entail.

“In an address before a joint session of the U.S. Congress (Jan. 28, 1976), Rabin cogently underscored the irrelevance of territory as a cause of Arab enmity towards the Jewish state: “Until 1967, Israel did not hold an inch of the Sinai Peninsula and the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or the Golan Heights. Israel held not an acre of what is now considered disputed territory. And yet we enjoyed no peace. Year after year Israel called for, pleaded for, a negotiated peace with the Arab governments. Their answer was a blank refusal and more war. … The reason was not a conflict over territorial claims. The reason was, and remains, the fact that a Free Jewish State sits on territory at all. … It is in this context that the Palestinian issue must be appraised.””…

…”More three decades ago, it was none other than Shimon Peres, widely considered the principal protagonist in the Oslo process, who warned ominously:

If a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passers-by, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the coastal plain.

Indeed, it was Peres who predicted with uncanny precision that: The establishment of such [a Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,000 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other [military] equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens. In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli air force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the population … in areas adjacent to the frontier line.”….

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