UN resolution on non-voting membership: An exercise in futility By Shirley Candappa
Mr. Yahel Vilan –Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel told the DM, Israel was willing to go back to the borders drawn up at the time of the partitioning of Palestine. He said: “...Let’s go back to the 47 resolution, whatever the UN gave the Palestinians will be Palestine’s, whatever they gave the Jews will be for Israel. We are accepting that - the majority of us do, I think it will be difficult but it is possible..”
Mr Vilan was speaking at a wide-ranging interview on the crisis in Gaza and the search for solutions to the Israel-Palestine problem
" there is a terrorist organisation controlling the Gaza since 2006.When you are controlled by a terrorist organisation, instead of investing money in developing your country, the only money they invest is in buying more and more missiles "
The crisis in Gaza
Hopefully at this moment there is no longer a crisis in Gaza, as we have signed another truce treaty with the Palestinians... and yet there is a crisis in Gaza as there is a terrorist organisation controlling the Gaza since 2006.When you are controlled by a terrorist organisation, instead of investing money in developing your country, the only money they invest is in buying more and more missiles and shooting them at Israel whenever they feel like.
So I think this is the main reason for the an ongoing crisis in Gaza. Israel pulled out from Gaza unilaterally, back in 2005 and evacuated tens of thousands settlers paying a very high price internally in Israeli society, in order to once and for all allow the Palestinians to control their own lives.
Since 1993 we were involved in peace negotiations with the Palestinians continuously between until 2005. One of the claims of the Palestinians has been that we are always exchanging papers... nothing on the ground. So back in 2005 we told them: “take this territory (Gaza) and make it your own... show the world you can control your territory, make it flourishing as part of a future Palestinian state.
What we have got in return is a terrorist organisation that is controlling the territory - the only imports to this territory is smuggling in missiles.
Not a single factory has been built, not a road, not a hospital not a tourist has come, no new hotel rooms.
They elected a terrorist organisation, one could ask why... that is their business
Israel pulled out of Gaza with no intention to go back, we do not want to go back, we don’t want to control their lives, we pulled out. We just want to live safely and securely, with friendly neighbours, not with hostile neighbours who can decide to shoot missiles on Israeli communities
So this is the reason for the crisis in Gaza. So now Israel says enough is enough...
Palestine’s entry to the UN as a non voting member
Tomorrow Mahamoud Abbas is going to United Nations to request for an upgrading of the status of Palestinine as a non voting member state - this is not a confidence building measure, this is against the agreement we signed in 1993, this is against 242, 238 Security Council resolution which said all those resolutions should be resolved between the two sides.
Now instead of talking with us and as I mentioned, we are not agreeing with everything - you must start somewhere.
He is always choosing the easier way go to the United Nations, he will get automatic recognition tomorrow, but what will happen on the ground... “Nothing, so they will get symbolic winning over Israel. But it is not winning over Israel, Israel will, believe me, be the first country supporting a Palestinian state once it will be achieved through negotiations and on agreed borders and security arrangements. Not by empty declarations and voting in the United Nations. Nothing will happen, we have seen this in the past.”
“When you go to the UN you get support, a nice photo... but on the ground, zero, nothing.
On the ground it creates more frustration in the people and believe me in the last 5 years we see an enormous improvement in the security situation because of the co-operation with Israel, even without official recognition.
If the outcome of this resolution is that people will say let’s start rioting in the streets - we will have to react.
That is why we are telling the world you should not give them this type of superficial win. You should bring pressure on them and on us, but bring the sides together.
" Israel will, believe me, be the first country supporting a Palestinian state once it will be achieved through negotiations and on agreed borders and security arrangements. Not by empty declarations and voting in the United Nations "
With Mahamoud Abbas I will not tell you that all the blame is on their side, some of the blame is also on our side, when there is no negotiation you cannot blame only one side, we have our claims they have theirs... we can do more.
With Hamas its a different story... it is a terrorist organisation”.
Whatever name one may refer to them by, Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza and they are the legitimate rulers.
On the other hand we have Mr. Abbas who has for a long time been trying to come to a just peace deal, but what he has got has been limited to paper. On the ground nothing has really happened, for instance a number of Palestinian areas have now been walled up. They have no way of getting in or out of their areas.
Since 1993 we did change things, first in the West Bank nearly 100% of which was controlled by Israel. We have taken most of our forces out of the cities, since’94 most of the Palestinians are living their daily lives without seeing Israeli soldiers. We maintain roadblocks from time to time, but these roadblocks are built or lifted according to a security situation.
In the last five years we have a situation where the areas controlled by Mr. Abbas are working very well. Therefore we were able to lift most of the roadblocks; so in their daily lives they don’t see Israeli soldiers. We are not in the heart of the cities. We concentrate mostly on protecting the borders. This is also part of the reason why we built the fence.
It’s really a wall isn’t it... the West Bank and Gaza have been walled in...
It’s not a wall, it’s a fence, out of a few hundred kilometres it’s fence not a real wall. 95% of the route is a fence not a wall.
This was built in mid 2003 and 2004, in the midst of huge terrorist attacks, you could not move freely, you could not take a bus in the middle of our cities. Again we had to measure our options, it was a case of let’s reverse the ’93 accords, go back, control, bring our military into the heart of the cities...
One option was to forget about the negotiations, go back to the territories with all our military might, when you control the cities, you can control the terrorist attacks and efforts, you have your military intelligence, you have much better control.
We did not do that because we wanted to keep the peace process going. We said we’ll keep our troops mostly on the border. Then when terrorists plan attacks the only time you have to meet them is on the border.
Then you must have a better barrier, you can’t have terrorists moving freely in and out of our cities. Israel is very small. It’s smaller than Sri Lanka. The time it takes to go from Nablus or Ramallah to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv –half an hour- so that was the reason why we built the security fence.
It was to improve the security of the Israeli civilians with a minimal effect on Palestinian civilians.
Yes it did affect those who work in Israel, for them it was more difficult, but it was much more difficult before, because earlier after a terrorist attack the automatic reaction was to close the border because you cannot allow workers, when one of them can be a terrorist right? So I think if you take the overall effect of the 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, for the majority of them the fence is a better tool, than the option that we had, we still have.
Now to give the correct picture, the security fence is only between Israel and Palestine they are not sealed all over. At the border with Jordan they can cross freely and they can also cross to Israel once the security situation has improved like we have now for the Palestinians to come to work in Israel It’s known, Palestinians face problems even crossing from one area to another
This was the minimal. You see the security fence was built in the pre-67 border, in some areas it is true - due to security reasons we had to build the fence a little bit beyond, but in others not exactly on the line. So there happen to be Palestinians farmers who have their farms on the other side of the security fence.
Also for this we found a solution... we built another fence so they can go and work, it’s not as it used to be - it is more difficult - they have to cross some kind of a barrier.
But if you look at it overall you will and I think even Palestinians will agree, it is a better solution than the alternative.
The fence was not built because of Israel’s own will. It was built because of the terrorist attack Israel was facing. If somebody will promise us, that if we remove the fence we can live happily ever after, we will pull it down tomorrow, but we are still not there.
We would like to be there.
Unfortunately in a state of war you have to take measures that are not easy for everybody.