Monday, May 16, 2016

Rabin and Total Withdrawal Not

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin conversing with US President Jimmy Carter, March 7, 1977

We are ready however, for territorial compromise, but we do not accept the principle of total withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. The location of the lines can be negotiated. The bulk of Sinai can be given back. As for Golan, even in a peace agreement, we do not want to come down from the Golan Heights. The West Bank is the most delicate issue. We just had a Labor Party convention in which there was a long argument over this issue. We concluded that for peace, we would make territorial compromises on all fronts. But it is not so easy. General Dayan put forward a reservation concerning the West Bank and a close vote was held. Out of 1,200 participants, a majority of only 51 came out for our position on territorial compromise. So it is not an easy problem. Our policy is that we will not draw lines. Once this is done, it becomes the basis for later bargaining. There have been no Cabinet decisions on final borders. But this will be an issue in the campaign. The tendency in Israeli public opinion is not to give too much, to put it mildly. But if the public could see a concrete offer, if negotiations were underway, and if we were on the verge of peace, then we would have some room for maneuver. But not for total withdrawal. Ninety percent of the Israeli public would reject that, and we are a democracy.

In Sinai, Sharm al-Shaikh is one point. We do not require sovereignty, but we require a presence and control. Two wars began over navigation there, 1956 and 1967. Our people would ask, if we returned Sharm al-Shaikh, whether there would be more wars there. So we need control, not sovereignty, and a land connection, as well as some changes in the old international boundary between Egypt and the Palestine Mandate. Those lines, after all, were changed in 1906. The British pushed the Ottoman Empire to give up part of Sinai to Egypt. Before 1906, the international boundary between the Ottoman Empire and Egypt was different....

...I cannot say anything about the West Bank, but for peace, we would be prepared for a territorial compromise. But not for full withdrawal. There are sharp differences within Israel. 


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