Who is behind the separation campaign?

Former acting Shin Bet chief, among leaders of separation campaign, answers questions including why he considers right 'delusional'.

Shimon Cohen,

Campaign posters in Tel Aviv
Campaign posters in Tel Aviv
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Yesterday a campaign calling for unilateral separation from the Arabs in Judea and Samaria was launched. Members of "Officers for Israel's Security", a group of retired senior officers, determined that without a rapid separation, the State of Israel will lose its Jewish majority and then automatically its demographic character as a Jewish and democratic state.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, former acting Shin Bet chief Aryeh Pelman answers a series of questions about the campaign and its goals.

We first asked him why did he and his colleagues start their campaign precisely now?

"Every moment is the right time to outline the future of Israel," Pelman adds, explaining that the opposite campaign to apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria and the annexation of the territory or part of it was of great significance in the decision to begin this campaign. "In recent months there's been talk about annexation while ignoring the fact that there are approximately 2 million Palestinians. We're not talking about what will be their status. In any case, this is an opportunity, like any other time, to say that we want a democratic state of the Jewish people and all those who offer any idea that will ensure this vision, we are with him."

In light of this answer, we asked if campaign officials would also agree if a personage from the right were to present a program stemming from the same demographic fears that would seek to encourage Jewish childbirth and Arab emigration for those interested, including a respectable compensation package. Pelman answers in the absolute negative: "No. The reason is simple: I do not believe delusional ideas. Even if we encourage childbearing and migration, it will take fifty years and we will be left with a half million farmers. These are delusional ideas. You don't build a country on dreams."

If so, what are the boundaries drawn by the separation campaign's leaders, to which Israel can withdraw? "No program today exists except for our 'Security First' which includes a brochure detailing in greatest detail what needs to be done," he begins to say and immediately sets out the main points of the program: "The completion of the security fence on the planned route and closing the gaps in Gush Etzion and the South Hevron Hills will create a situation where on one side of the fence a space that includes 450 thousand Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria and on other side of the fence a space inhabited by a hundred to a hundred and twenty thousand Jews. I am not saying to withdraw the IDF from Judea and Samaria, nor am I saying disengagement. We are talking about taking independent steps without harming security but on the contrary, to increase security. When the security fence is completed it will provide more security to the residents of Gush Etzion; you close the border to illegal workers. It can not be that in an enlightened country fifty-thousand people come in and out without control. You firmly shut with a formidable barrier the infiltration of terrorists from the territories."

Pelman continues his presentation of the plan: "The second step is building independent life for the Palestinians where they are. Our brochure explains how to make them live independently and to reduce dependence on Israel. The final element that may still be controversial is to finally announce to the world what the hell we are doing in Judea and Samaria. If this is our land and should be annexed, then annex it, but I want to see a plan that offers demographic, economic, international, and security answers, and more. Today there is no one who knows how to answer this in the context of annexation."

As for the assertion that there is no plan to uproot Jewish communities, Pelman was asked if this is a statement that expires later and the future plan may include uprooting Jews, he says he can not determine this because no one can predict the future. If a suitable partner for peace is discovered or not, and if there is a partner for peace after all, Israel might have to pay the price in the form of such displacement.

"Let's do something to stabilize our hold on the land in a fairer, clearer, and more secure way. After all, if the Palestinian Authority collapses and there is pandemonium there, it will be felt in Tel Aviv," said Pelman.




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