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Ariel Sharon's Speech at the Herzliya Conference 19th Dec. 2003
the organizers of this conference for the important and
We are all
entrusted with the duty of shaping the face of the Jewish and
state which constitutes a national and spiritual center for all Jews of
the world and is a source of attraction for
This is the country we wish to shape. This is the country where our children will want to live.
I know that there is sometimes a tendency to narrow all of Israel's problems down to the political sphere, believing that once a solution is found to Israel's problems with its neighbors, particularly the Palestinians, the other issues on the agenda will miraculously resolve themselves. I do not believe so. We are facing additional challenges which must be addressed - the economy, educating the young generation, immigrant absorption, enhancement of social cohesion and the improvement of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel.
Like all Israeli citizens, I yearn for peace. I attach supreme importance to taking all steps which will enable progress toward resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians. However, in light of the other challenges we are faced with, if the Palestinians do not make a similar effort toward a solution of the conflict - I do not intend to wait for them indefinitely.
ago, my Government approved the "Roadmap" to peace, based on
The Roadmap is a clear and reasonable plan, and it is therefore possible and imperative to implement it. The concept behind this plan is that only security will lead to peace. And in that sequence. Without the achievement of full security - within the framework of which terror organizations will be dismantled - it will not be possible to achieve genuine peace, a peace for generations. This is the essence of the Roadmap. The opposite perception, according to which the very signing of a peace agreement will producesecurity out of thin air, has already been tried in the past and failed miserably. And such will be the fate of any other plan which promotes this concept. These plans deceive the public and create false hope. There will be no peace before the eradication of terror.
The government under my leadership will not compromise on the realization of all phases of the Roadmap. It is incumbent upon the Palestinians to uproot the terrorist groups and to create a law-abiding society which fights against violence and incitement. Peace and terror cannot coexist. The world is currently united in its unequivocal demand from the Palestinians to act toward the cessation of terrorism and the implementation of reforms. Only a transformation of the Palestinian Authority into a different authority will enable progress in the political process. The Palestinians must fulfill their obligations. A full and complete implementation will - at the end of the process - lead to peace and tranquility.
the implementation of the Roadmap at Aqaba, but the terrorist
with the demand from the Palestinians to eliminate the terror
In addition, subject to security coordination, we will transfer Palestinian towns to Palestinian security responsibility.
Israel will make every effort to assist the Palestinians and to advance the process.
Israel will fulfil the commitments taken upon itself. I have committed to the President of the United States that Israel will dismantle unauthorized outposts. It is my intention to implement this commitment. The State of Israel is governed by law, and the issue of the outposts is no exception. I understand the sensitivity; we will try to do this in the least painful way possible, but the unauthorized outposts will be dismantled. Period.
meet all its obligations with regard to construction in the
I take this opportunity to appeal to the Palestinians and repeat, as I said at Aqaba: it is not in our interest to govern you. We would like you to govern yourselves in your own country. A democratic Palestinian state with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria and economic viability, which would conduct normal relations of tranquility, security and peace with Israel. Abandon the path of terror and let us together stop the bloodshed. Let us move forward together towards peace.
We wish to speedily advance implementation of the Roadmap towards quiet and a genuine peace. We hope that the Palestinian Authority will carry out its part. However, if in a few months the Palestinians still continue to disregard their part in implementing the Roadmap - then Israel will initiate the unilateral security step of disengagement from the Palestinians.
of the "Disengagement Plan" is to reduce terror as much as
We are interested in conducting direct negotiations, but do not intend to hold Israeli society hostage in the hands of the Palestinians. I have already said - we will not wait for them indefinitely.
The "Disengagement Plan" will include the redeployment of IDF forces along new security lines and a change in the deployment of settlements, which will reduce as much as possible the number of Israelis located in the heart of the Palestinian population. We will draw provisional security lines and the IDF will be deployed along them. Security will be provided by IDF deployment, the security fence and other physical obstacles. The "Disengagement Plan" will reduce friction between us and the Palestinians.
of friction will require the extremely difficult step of
Settlements which will be relocated are those which will not be included in the territory of the State of Israel in the framework of any possible future permanent agreement. At the same time, in the framework of the "Disengagement Plan", Israel will strengthen its control over those same areas in the Land of Israel which will constitute an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement. I know you would like to hear names, but we should leave something for later.
Israel will greatly accelerate the construction of the security fence. Today we can already see it taking shape. The rapid completion of the security fence will enable the IDF to remove roadblocks and ease the daily lives of the Palestinian population not involved in terror.
to enable the Palestinians to develop their economic and trade
I would like to emphasize: the "Disengagement Plan" is a security measure and not a political one. The steps which will be taken will not change the political reality between Israel and the Palestinians, and will not prevent the possibility of returning to the implementation of the Roadmap and reaching an agreed settlement.
The "Disengagement Plan" does not prevent the implementation of the Roadmap. Rather, it is a step Israel will take in the absence of any other option, in order to improve its security. The "Disengagement Plan" will be realized only in the event that the Palestinians continue to drag their feet and postpone implementation of the Roadmap.
Obviously, through the "Disengagement Plan" the Palestinians will receive much less than they would have received through direct negotiations as set out in the Roadmap.
According to circumstances, it is possible that parts of the "Disengagement Plan" that are supposed to provide maximum security to the citizens of Israel will be undertaken while also attempting to implement the Roadmap.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My life experience has taught me that for peace, as well as for war, we must have broad consensus. We must preserve our unity, even in the midst of a difficult, internal debate.
In the past three years, the Palestinian terrorist organizations have put us to a difficult test. Their plan to break the spirit of Israeli society has not succeeded. The citizens of Israel have managed to step into the breach, support each other, lend a helping hand, volunteer and contribute.
I believe that this path of unity must be continued today. Whether we will be able to advance the Roadmap, or will have to implement the "Disengagement Plan", experience has taught us that, together, through broad national consensus, we can do great things.
Let us not
be led astray. Any path will be complicated, strewn with
We will always be guided by the words of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who said, on the day after the Declaration of Independence:
These days, our purpose is only to build the State of Israel with love and faith, in Jewish brotherhood, and to defend it with all our spirit, and as long as necessary. We are still in the midst of a difficult battle, one that has two fronts: political and military. Let us not embellish our deeds and, of course, our words, with grandiose names. We must remain humble. We achieved what we have achieved by standing on the shoulders of previous generations, and we accomplished what we have accomplished by preserving our precious legacy, the legacy of a small nation which has endured suffering and tribulations, but which is, nevertheless, great and eternal in spirit, vision, faith and virtue.
I am also a great believer in the resilience of this small, brave nation which has endured suffering and tribulations. I am confident that, united in the power of our faith, we will be able to succeed in any path we choose.
very much, and happy Hannukah.
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