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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Israel Policy Forum releases 2009 Mofaz interview illustrating traditional IDF 24 hours planning horizon

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Former COS Shaul Mofaz provides a fine example of
how the traditional IDF painfully short planning horizon leads to silly
policy recommendations (Former COS now DM Barak has a special variant: he
can describe a series of diplomatic moves that extend beyond a short
planning horizon but they appear to be based on the assumption that the
other side never revises their moves - making the Arabs take on the role
more like a punching bag for a boxer dancing around it in his analysis than
a real opponent. Two illustrations: this is why he was clueless what to do
when his retreat from Lebanon ran into trouble and even worse was clueless
what to do when the Arabs put Israel to the test after the retreat).

Now let's read Mr. Mofaz's pearls of wisdom: "I propose the immediate
establishment of an independent, disarmed Palestinian state in the West Bank
and in Gaza."

That's right. A sovereign state before any of the final status issues have
been resolved.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problems.

"I propose the immediate establishment of an independent, disarmed
Palestinian"

Notice the word "disarmed."

What is "disarmed"? Who "disarms" them? Who establishes that they are
"disarmed" Who makes sure they stay "disarmed"?

Oh, let's not worry about that. The sovereign Palestinian state is
"immediate".

And since "disarming" is something that most certainly can't actually happen
overnight, the inclusion of the "disarmed" in his proposal is just for the
presentation - not for implementation.

We get an indication of this in Mr. Mofaz's remarks about Hamas:

On the one hand Mr. Mofaz notes that "Hamas ...are smuggling arms from the
sea, from the borders. And they have today long range missiles, more than
they had before the last operation in Gaza. And they have missiles that have
the range of 60km. And we cannot accept a terror organization living side by
side with Israel and launching missiles against our people."

But does he require that they disarm?

Here is what he demands: " if Hamas accepts the Quartet’s requirements,
which means to stop all kinds of terror activity and incitement against the
State of Israel, to accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish,
democratic country, and if they implement all the agreements that were
achieved so far, we will sit with them around the table of negotiations."

Oops.

No explicit call for disarming.]

========

Israel Policy Forum (IPF)
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 11:18 PM
To: imra@netvision.net.il
Subject: IPF's Candid Interview with Shaul Mofaz

Kadima's Shaul Mofaz to IPF: "I believe in peace."
"The current generation of leaders in the State of Israel cannot pass the
responsibility to end the conflict to the next generation."

On November 11, 2009, Israel Policy Forum hosted a conference call
discussion with General Shaul Mofaz. A former Defense Minister and IDF Chief
of Staff, Mofaz was elected on March 27, 2012 to serve as the Head of the
Opposition in the Knesset as the new leader of the Kadima Party. In 2009,
just prior to this discussion, Mofaz announced a proposal for
Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking based on the creation of a Palestinian state
within provisional borders. This candid interview with General Mofaz,
moderated by IPF National Scholar Dr. Steven L. Spiegel, analyzed aspects of
his plan.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MK Shaul Mofaz: Thank you very much Professor Spiegel, and good morning. I
am very glad to speak with you. I would like to begin by saying a few words
about myself. I was born in Iran, Teheran; I came to Israel when I was 9
years old. I served in the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces, for 36 years, 4
years as the chief-of-staff and 4 years as a Defense Minister. My last
position in the government was Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the
strategic dialogue, and Minister of Transportation and Roads. Today, I am a
member of Knesset in the Kadima party.

I would like to say to you that I believe in peace.

I served most of my life in the security field. I have participated in 4-5
wars, a long and very hard struggle against terror. Namely the suicide
bomber attacks against Israel, mainly in the years from 2001 to 2006. But I
believe that we no longer have the privilege of waiting. We have to move
forward and have a peace agreement with the Palestinians and to move forward
for a different regional situation in our region.

Speaking about my plan, I believe that for the past 16 years, different
deals and different channels were done to achieve a peace agreement, but
unfortunately without results. My proposal is based on our national security
analysis point(ing) that time is not on Israel’s side. First, Iran is on its
way to obtain nuclear capability. (Second,) the radical forces are gaining
strength. The Iranian umbrella, as head of the proxies, is clear to all –
the Hezbollah and the Hamas. The third issue is that the popular Palestinian
discourse may soon turn in to a one-state solution rhetoric, which is the
most dangerous situation, in the State of Israel in becoming a state for two
nations. The demography, and the lack of a two-state solution, is not in
Israel's favor.

Speaking about my vision, my political vision: I believe that Israel’s
primary interest is maintaining its status as a Jewish and democratic state.
Therefore, my proposal is to move in two phases toward a peace agreement
with the Palestinians.

I propose the immediate establishment of an independent, disarmed
Palestinian state in the West Bank and in Gaza. This will be done during
continued negotiations on the direction of Israel’s permanent borders and
security arrangements. And as I said, simultaneously, we will continue to
dialogue on the remainder of the final status issues. I believe that the
establishment of the Palestinian state with temporary borders and
simultaneous dialogue and negotiation about the core issues: which are the
borders, the refugee issue, and Jerusalem, will allow us to rebuild the
trust between the two-sides, and will change the atmosphere totally in our
region. We will have to have the support of the Arab moderate countries, the
European countries, and the leadership of the United States. And I believe
that we will be able to have an agreement about the core issues better when
the Palestinian state functions as one unit— with Gaza– and, I believe, that
as a second phase will be the implementation of the final status issues that
will be agreed between the two-sides.

Now, I would like to point out some other issues. Before the implementation
of the final status issues, I believe that we have to have from the
Palestinians a very clear cut statement of the end to the demands and an end
to the conflict. I believe that we have to build a mechanism for potential
mediation if gaps still exist between the two sides. And, I call for a
referendum among the citizens of the State of Israel to approve what was
achieved during the negotiations about the core issues before the
implementation.

I believe that by having these two-phases of my plan, that this is the best
way to achieve an agreement with the Palestinians. And I have the full
confidence that the moment that the Prime Minister of Israel adopts this
plan; the moment that the President of the US will back this plan, and will
approve it as the right direction to move forward, we will be able to
achieve an agreement in a few years – it is not less than 4 but it is not
more than 6 (years).

This is my basic proposal. There are some other issues we can discuss, but I
would like to ask if there are some questions about the proposal, about my
plan.

Steven L. Spiegel: As I understand, in the first phase – as Prime
Minister – you would immediately offer the Palestinians an independent,
temporary, "provisional" state as it’s called in the Roadmap…

No, no, not provisional state. The state is permanent, the borders are
provisional.

And how will the Palestinians know that they will have an opportunity to
gain additional territory along the lines of at least the Palestinian
Authority’s aim to gain the same size they had in 1967.

Ok – it is a very good point. I would like to say a few words about some
details regarding the size of the territory and about the population. Today,
in Gaza 100 percent of the territory is under the Hamas control and 100
percent of the population. In the West Bank there are 3 types of areas: Area
A, Area B and Area C. In Area A the security responsibility and civilian
responsibility is in the hands of the Palestinians. Area B means the
security responsibility is under the sovereignty of the state of Israel and
the civilian sovereignty is in the hands of the Palestinians. And Area C is
an Israeli area in which it controls security and civilian issues. Today, 40
percent of the West Bank – speaking about the territories – is A plus B.
Which means that 60 percent are in Area C. Now, in this 40 percent (A plus
B), 99.2 percent of the Palestinian population lives in this territory. But
there is no contiguity between the Palestinians’ Areas A and B. And so I
suggest to add 20 percent of the C area to give full contiguity to the
Palestinian state, and they will have 60 percent of the territory in the
West Bank and control more than 99 percent of the (Palestinian) population.

Speaking about the final status, I can give a guarantee to the US that at
the end of the process – at the end of Phase 2 – the Palestinians will have
most of the size of the territory of ‘67, but not the borders. Because the
borders should be based on the settlement groups which we call Maaleh
Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Ariel – they will bring a defendable border for
the State of Israel and I believe they will create the eastern border of the
State of Israel. But, at the same time, I, as the Prime Minister, will give
a guarantee to the President of the United States that the Palestinians will
have most of the territory – I mean in terms of size of territory – as what
they had before 67.

What do you do about Gaza? Gaza, as I understand you, is part of the state
that is being created immediately. But, of course, you have Hamas in Gaza,
so how do you handle that?

How we handle Gaza is one of the most difficult issues. Generally speaking
Gaza is part of the Palestinian state. Under one condition: that the elected
government of the Palestinians will control Gaza by all means—one authority,
one law and one gun. I mean that the moment that the elected Palestinian
government, the Prime Minister and President of the Palestinians control
Gaza, and they have full control in all means in Gaza, Gaza is part of the
Palestinian state. That is not a precondition to start the negotiations and
to move ahead with the Palestinians. Because as I said in the beginning -
and this is one of the pillars of my plan – that we no longer have the
privilege of waiting.

So you would announce that immediately you are going to Washington, you hope
the Palestinians will join you for a ceremony. You are handing over 60
percent of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority President, and hope
that Gaza will join. You will commit yourself to the American President to
begin negotiations immediately, to last over 4-6 years to have a
comprehensive agreement. Meanwhile, the Palestinians will have 60 percent of
the West Bank with the guarantee that at the end of negotiations they will
have a full-blown state, end of conflict, all issues and claims settled,
including Jerusalem, do I have that right?

Yes, I believe that you should be very careful, because you know that
Jerusalem is a very sensitive issue in Israel. We don’t see a divided
Jerusalem, and we have to find a creative understanding about Jerusalem. I
believe that the issue of the borders, we can accomplish it very soon. But
the issue of Jerusalem should be discussed in a very sensitive way. In
Israel there is no chance to divide Jerusalem. It will remain united as the
capital of the State of Israel, and we have to find a way to handle the
daily lives of the Jewish and Palestinian people in Jerusalem.

And would you give an opportunity for the Palestinians to have East
Jerusalem as their capital in the final status talks?

Well, for this question, we need at least two-years to discuss this issue.
So it will be not a responsible way to discuss it now before we started the
negotiations. And we have to be very careful, as I say, Jerusalem is a very
sensitive issue to the people of Israel and it is a very important point
that it remain united and the capital of the State of Israel. We have to
speak about the core issues the moment we start to speak about the
Palestinian state with provisional borders, and I believe we have enough
time to discuss the core issues. And from my point of view, the main idea of
my proposal is a Palestinian state with temporary borders, and at the same
time negotiations over the core issues. I would like that you will respect
the channel of negotiations, and we cannot discuss today the issue of the
borders, refugees and of course the issue of Jerusalem.

Would you talk to Hamas during this process?

No, Hamas is a terror organization. And Hamas is gaining more and more power
preparing themselves for the next round. They are smuggling arms from the
sea, from the borders. And they have today long range missiles, more than
they had before the last operation in Gaza. And they have missiles that have
the range of 60km. And we cannot accept a terror organization living side by
side with Israel and launching missiles against our people.

If they are preparing for the next round, we have to make clear to them that
the Hamas, as a terror organization, next time we will act in the way that
they will not exist—not their leaders and not their organizations. But, if
Hamas accepts the Quartet’s requirements, which means to stop all kinds of
terror activity and incitement against the State of Israel, to accept the
right of Israel to exist as a Jewish, democratic country, and if they
implement all the agreements that were achieved so far, we will sit with
them around the table of negotiations. And if they will be elected by the
Palestinian people, and this requirement will be implemented, I believe we
will speak with Hamas. We will not speak with Hamas if they continue to be a
terror organization calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. We
have to make it very clear to them, to the Palestinian people, and to our
neighbors.

Why do you think this peace plan will succeed where others have failed?

I believe other alternatives are to start negotiations, to continue to
negotiate. And we will wait another 16 years until we will see that this
channel of negotiation without implementation does not have any kind of
results. I believe the moment the Palestinians accept the idea of a
Palestinian state with temporary borders, the moment they have a Palestinian
state and at the same time we start to speak about the final status issues,
the atmosphere and the trust between the two sides will completely change.
And I believe it is in the interest of the Palestinians to have a state and
it is in the interests of the State of Israel to implement the vision of the
two-state solution: the State of Israel and a Palestinian state living
side-by-side. My main idea is to start with a Palestinian state—the state is
not temporary, the borders are temporary. The moment they have a state they
could build their economy, they could build their law, they could build
their security apparatuses, they could create a better life for the
Palestinian people. And I believe we will have a better relationship and
atmosphere to solve all the final status issues.

And what if they say no? If you, as Prime Minister, offer them this state
immediately—60 percent of the West Bank with the guarantee of negotiations
for settling permanent frontiers—and they say “no we won’t take it until we
have permanent borders?”

Professor Spiegel, as you probably know, in the last 16 years, the
Palestinians have said no to all the proposals—even the Clinton proposals.
In Camp David when General Barak was the Prime Minister and he offered to
them 98 percent, and a solution in Jerusalem, and a solution for the
refugees, Arafat said “no.” The same situation was between Prime Minister
Olmert and Abu Mazen. But I believe that there is a new atmosphere in
Israel. All the leaders of the big parties agree today to the two state
solution. Prime Minister Netanyahu, the head of the Likud Party, said that
the vision of the two-state solution should be implemented in his speech at
Bar Ilan University. I believe that President Obama has the goodwill to
move forward and to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. I
believe that today in Israel more and more people want to see this conflict
having a solution. And the current generation of leaders in the State of
Israel cannot pass the responsibility to end the conflict to the next
generation. We have to take the decision right now, in these years, to avoid
the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to open the horizon
and give the hope to our people that we can have peace with our neighbors,
Syria, and Lebanon. And from my point of view the key is an agreement with
the Palestinians.

* * *

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