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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Eiland: Gaza pullout was missed chance of historic proportions

In an interview published in HaAretz this morning, the outgoing head of the National Security Council Giora Eiland called the unilateral withdrawal surrender and expulsion plan from Gaza a "missed chance of historic proportions."

According to Eiland, "The disengagement contributed nothing to the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Here are the key portions of the interview:

And this is the crux of the missed opportunity in your view?

"Yes. The disengagement was a missed opportunity of historical proportions because at the end of 2003 both Israel and the world had reached the conclusion that on the one hand it was important to end the conflict quickly, and on the other hand, in the existing paradigm it is impossible to solve it.

"Why is it impossible to solve? Because the maximum that Israel can give is less than the minimum that the Palestinians must accept. I think that was a rare opportunity to offer a new paradigm. But the disengagement simply said the occupation was bad, that there is no chance for an agreement so long as there is occupation, and therefore, let us narrow the occupation.

"The same is said by the convergence. There is logic in the thinking, but it does not lead to long-term stability. The move along a unilateral path leads us to the classic solution of two states for two peoples, and I think this is an impossible solution."

Explain it to me.

"When we talk of a solution of two states for two peoples we make two assumptions: that it is possible to solve the conflict in the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, and that the reference for a border between the two states are the 1967 lines with minor changes. I reject these two assumptions. I think that between the sea and the river there is not enough area to contain two states, and I think that in order to maintain a defensible border, Israel needs at least 12 percent of the West Bank. The 1967 lines, even the Clinton Plan, do not give Israel defensible borders."

And a Palestinian state in only 88 percent of the West Bank territory is a viable state?

"That is the second mistake. I argue that even a Palestinian state with 100 percent of the Gaza Strip and 97 percent of the West Bank is not viable. Such a country will be poor, radical, restive, where the demographic pressures will be unbearable. In 2020 there will be 2.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, in area of 365 square kilometers. This will inevitably lead to pressure against the fences."

Read the entire interview.

HaAretz is now reporting that MK's from both the right and the left have called for hearings by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to discuss Eiland's views. Eiland believes that Olmert's convergence consolidation realignment surrender and expulsion plan for Judea and Samaria repeats the Gaza mistake on a larger scale.


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