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Netanyahu in 2002: Why We Must Oppose a Palestinian State

"The biggest mistake that can be made is to promise [to the Palestinians] the establishment of their own independent state" - B. Netanyahu, 2002
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 4/30/2009, 11:59 AM

Israel News Photo

"The biggest mistake that can be made is to promise [to the Palestinians] the establishment of their own independent state." So said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu exactly seven years ago, in a strong warning against giving in to international pressure on Israel in "final status" talks with the Palestinian Authority. 

It was in May 2002, when the Likud Central Committee held a stormy session in which it voted overwhelmingly for then-MK Netanyahu's position against the formation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, and against the position of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Sharon had in the months beforehand implied his support for a demilitarized PA state, prompting Netanyahu and other party leaders to put the issue to a vote – and a PA state lost.

Sore Loser Sharon
Sharon
, in an attempt to ward off defeat, presented his own counterproposal: “We strengthen the hands of our government in their war against terrorism and the campaign to reach true peace, and no vote shall be taken that will make the diplomatic struggle difficult.” This, too, was voted down, but Sharon’s response was that he would “continue to work with the best interests of the State of Israel in mind” - similar to his response to the Likud referendum two years later that voted down his Disengagement plan.

Netanyahu: All the Reasons to Oppose a Palestinian Authority State
Today, as Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu is once again being pressured to agree to a Palestinian Authority State.  As a public service, Israel National News publishes excerpts from Netanyahu’s speech in 2002 in strong opposition to such an entity:

"The biggest mistake that can be made is to promise the greatest prize for Palestinian terrorism: the establishment of their own independent state. Most people now feel that a state under Arafat would be a terrorist fortress dedicated to our destruction.

"But some say that without Arafat, with a different leadership and with all sort of reforms, things will be different. Let's see if this is true. We want to ensure that such an entity does not receive more than self-rule. But it will demand all the powers of a state, such as controlling borders, bringing in weapons, control of airspace and the ability to knock down any Israeli plane that enters its area, the ability to sign peace treaties and military alliances with other countries. Once you give them a state, you give them all these things, even if there is an agreement to the contrary, for within a short time they will demand all these things, and they will assume these powers, and the world will stand by and do nothing - but it *will* stop us from trying to stop them...

"We will thus have created with our own hands a threat to our very existence. On the day that we sign an agreement for a state with limited authorities, what will happen if the Palestinians do what the Germans did after World War I, when they nullified the demilitarized zone? The world did nothing then, and the world will do nothing now as well. Even now, the Palestinians are removing all the restrictions to which they agreed in Oslo – they are smuggling in arms, polluting the water sources, building an army, making military deals with Iran and others, and more… But when we try to take action against this, the world opposes us – and not them...

"Arafat said it best when talking to reporters the day he signed the Oslo Accords: 'Since we can't defeat Israel in war, we must do it in stages, we must take whatever area of Palestine we can get, establish sovereignty there, and then at the right time, we will have to convince the Arab nations to join us in dealing the final blow to Israel.' Self-rule, yes. But a state with which to destroy the State of Israel - no...

"We are told that the idea of a Palestinian state is just a vision for the future, not for right now. Well, our nation, too, has a vision for the future: ‘The wolf shall lie down with the lamb.’ When this vision is fulfilled in the Middle East, then we’ll convene this Committee again and re-consider the issue…

"When Arafat threatened to declare a Palestinian state in 1999, I announced at the United Nations that if he did so, we would annex broad areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza – and Arafat capitulated.  Throughout the years, all the Likud governments objected to a Palestinian state, and on that platform we were voted into power, and to this mandate all Likud leaders are bound. And yet something strange happened here: Without anyone approving it, without any democratic process - not in the party, not in the government, not in the Knesset, and certainly not in the country - but only with some ill-advised remarks [by Sharon in favor of a PA state], one of the foundation stones of our national security has been shaken, and suddenly the position of Sarid and Peres has become the official policy of the Government of Israel - and as a result, also that of the United States. Ladies and gentlemen, is this how critical decisions on our national existence are made??

"...We need not be concerned that the international community does not agree with us on this matter. Did the international community foresee the Holocaust? And if it did, did it do anything about it? Did it even lift a finger? It also did nothing about the threat to our existence that faced us from the Iraqi reactor – except to condemn us when Menachem Begin’s government destroyed it… On matters vital to our existence, we always took clear action, even if others didn’t agree with us. Because the bottom line is that saying 'Yes' to a Palestinian state means 'No' to a Jewish State, and vice-versa.”