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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
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Shaul Mofaz and Jewish Settlements: He Knows Everything But Learns Nothing

New Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz.

New Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz.
Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi /FLASH90

It appears that Tuesday night’s big winner of the Kadima party primary vote, like the Royal house of Bourbon, has not forgotten anything and has not learned anything. On November 11, 2009, the Israel Policy Forum (a NY based American Jewish organization which has been criticized for being pro-Palestinian) hosted a conference call discussion with former Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, in which he laid down his plan for a Permanent Palestinian State. If you or your loved ones reside in Judea and Samaria – be afraid, be very afraid.

Indeed, over the past few years, Mofaz has been visiting the parts of Judea and Samaria located within the security fence, to reassure residents that their future is safe. Ynet quotes him as saying, in late 2005: “I intend to operate on two issues: The first is to continue to promote the building of the fence in order to provide the citizens with maximum security, and the second is to strengthen settlement blocs, because I believe that the settlement blocs must be strong, together with the Jordan Valley.”

But anyone else, apparently, is fair game. On a visit to Ma’ale Adumim, days before the Kadima vote, Mofaz reiterated that he considered this settlement with its 39,000 residents, near Jerusalem, as “an integral part of Israel’s political agenda.” Meaning, this one gets to stay, others – not so.

The truth is that Shaul Mofaz, who may become Israel’s next prime minister, is as firm on uprooting thousands of Jewish families from Judea and Samaria as he was about doing the same to the Jews of the Gaza strip.

And it is clear that he acted in Gaza’s Gush Katif with the full expectation that once the settlements were cleared, a reign of terror and attacks on Israel were likely to follow.

Back in June, 2005, the Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz reported that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was preparing to hand over to the Palestinian Authority written information on the location of settlements and on settlement infrastructure in Gush Katif, to keep the PA (which still ruled in Gaza) in the know and help coordinate with them the uprooting of the Jewish settlers.

Briefing reporters, Mofaz “took a swipe at former chief of General Staff Moshe Ya’alon,” whose term at the helm of the IDF was not renewed because Mofaz did not trust him to carry out the removal of Jews from their homes.

The week before that June briefing, Ya’alon had “warned of an upsurge in terrorism and ultimately war with the Palestinians in the aftermath of disengagement,” recorded Horovitz. Mofaz declared, without mentioning Ya’alon by name, that some people were inventing “radical scenarios about what will happen the day after,” when in reality, there were “lots of possibilities” and Israel had to be “ready to deal with any and all of them.”

But then, at the very same briefing, Mofaz warned that Hamas was growing stronger in Gaza, outpacing the PA, and that—as Horovitz put it—he “envisaged a possibility of Hamas becoming the dominant player there.”

With prophetic foresight, Mofaz said: “An alternative leadership is rising up under the noses of the PA.” He warned that Hamas had “a people’s army” which was bringing weapons in clandestine ways into Gaza. Indeed, all of Hamas’ soldiers were now armed and trained, unmolested by the PA’s security forces.

On a different occasion, during a tour of Gush Katif that summer, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told reporters that Ashkelon was within the range that needed extra protection from terrorist rockets.

But with all this prophetic insight, Mofaz still did not hesitate to move in on the Jews of Gush Katif and plant the seeds for the very scenario about which he was so worried. Deprived of a base within Gaza, the IDF was later forced to employ a great deal more power than would have been necessary to curtail rocket attacks on Israel — just as Mofaz had predicted.

A brilliant analyst he is — if only he listened to his own analysis.

There is no love lost between Shaul Mofaz and the settlement movement.

Two years after the annihilation of Jewish Gaza, in his capacity as Transportation Minister in the Kadima government led by PM Ehud Olmert, Mofaz was invited by the Gush Etzion municipality to participate in a ceremony naming the intersection at Efrat’s northern entrance after the convoys that brought aid to the Jews of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem, who were under Jordanian siege during the 1948-49 War of Independence.

Mofaz was welcomed with whistles, boos and shouts, which drowned out his short speech. The crowd yelled: Lo Shachachnu – we haven’t forgotten.

With all of the above in mind, here are Shaul Mofaz’s plans for a permanent Palestinian state, as laid down before the Israel Policy Forum in 2009:

My proposal is to move in two phases to a peace agreement with the Palestinians. I propose the immediate establishment of an independent disarmed Palestinian state in the West Bank and in Gaza. Simultaneously, we will engage in dialogue with the Palestinians on the final status issues.

I believe that a permanent Palestinian state with temporary borders and simultaneous negotiations on the core issues: borders, refugees and Jerusalem, will allow us to rebuild the trust between the two sides, and totally change the atmosphere in our region. In this process, we must have the support of the moderate Arab countries, the European countries and the leadership of the United States.

When asked about negotiating with the Hamas government, Mofaz first states that “We cannot accept terror organizations living side-by-side with Israel and launching missiles against our people.”

Having said that, Mofaz proceeds:

But, if Hamas accepts the Quartet requirements: stop terror activity and incitement; accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish democratic country; and implement all the agreements achieved so far, we will sit with them at the negotiation table, if they are elected by the Palestinian people. In my proposal I agree to negotiate with the elected Palestinian leadership. If the Palestinian people vote for Hamas and Hamas wins the election I will respect their decision and will return to the negotiating table with Hamas as a partner.

When asked what will happen to the settlers outside the “approved” Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, once the state is declared in your first phase? Does Israel remove them, Mofaz shows just how little he has learned from the Gush Katif tragedy:

I believe that in the first year we should pass an evacuation-compensation law in the Knesset and to prepare the civilian infrastructure for the people moving from these settlements to the Galilee or the Negev. We cannot predict the size or the percentage of the people that will move by their own will, but I believe that giving them the infrastructure, giving them the time, knowing that the Palestinian state with temporary borders was approved in a referendum in Israel, will make it easier for them to make the right decision. But we cannot predict how many people will stay in any case in their houses, in their settlements. In the end, we should ask them or remove them to other areas.

Should the reader presume from reading Mofaz’s well disguised plan that he is essentially looking to act in democratic ways, based on a recognized process which would be approved by the voters, the last statement should turn on the red alert. Back in May, 2004, the Likud party held a referendum on the Gush Katif plan which ended with 65% of the voters against the plan. So PM Sharon ordered Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz to create an amended plan, which the cabinet approved without the tedious process of offering it up for another vote. And as to the care to be given to Jewish refugees from the evacuated settlements, Ynet reported on a Knesset committee hearing in 2006 on a report on “Suicide attempts, heart attacks, and deterioration of family life” which were “among the symptoms affecting the lives of former Gush Katif settlers evacuated from Gaza last summer.” Also, in the same report, it was stated that “about 51 percent of the evacuees are unemployed” one year after their forced removal.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the suffering of Gush Katif Jews, who had been given the very same promises by the very same man.

Supporters of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria should take a hard look at this man who today took over the largest Knesset faction and is planning to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. He has not veered from his original plan to dismantle Jewish life east of the security fence. And, as he has proven in 2005, if anyone can do it, he can.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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