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