8 Points For Peace

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menachem begin
posted on:
23 In dec 2019
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Arabs of Israel, Terror Attack. Security - Army, Self-Defense. Foreign Policy , Greater Land of Israel , Jewish Heritage , Nationalism - Jewish Nationality. Jewish Nationality , Government - Kol Israel. Peace - Peace, Peace Agreements. Aliyah - Return to Zion
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"8 Points for Peace"

 

JEWISH RIGHT to the Land of Israel is basic and inseparable from our right to security, without which there can be no prospect of peace.

The choice does not lie between maintaining our right to the Land of Israel and obtaining peace for a Jewish State in some part of the Land of Israel; the true choice lies between maintaining our right to the Land of Israel and endangering the existence of a Jewish State in any part of the Land of Israel.

Herut has proposed that Israel assume the initiative in establishing peace in the Middle East, and bring the following proposals to the attention of the Arab and other nations:

  1. That an absolute armistice is agreed on between the Jews and the Arabs, for an initial period of three years.
  2. That the armistice applies to the regular forces on land, at sea and in the air, and to any other force or organisation bearing arms.
  3. That, during these three years, an effort be made to establish peace between the two nations, by means of signed peace treaties between the Jewish State and its Arab neighbour States, in which the borders between them shall be laid down.
  4. That an effort be made to find an agreed humane solution to the problem of the Arab refugees and their property and of the property of the Jewish refugees who have left the Arab States and come to Israel.
  5. That every Government which is a party to the negotiations appoint representatives authorised to conduct them.
  6. That the negotiating sessions be held alternately in Jerusalem and in the capitals of the neighbouring Arab States, or in a neutral place such as Geneva, Lausanne or San Remo.
  7. That each party be entitled to present at the negotiations whatever proposals it deems fit, in mutual recognition of the independence and sovereignty of the negotiating states.
  8. That an official note containing these proposals be presented on behalf of the Government of Israel to the states adjoining Israel and be brought to the attention of all states with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations, and that the contents of the note be brought to the attention of all nations through publication by appropriate means.

Apropos this let me say to the Arabs:

Because of the historical dispute between our nations over the ownership of the Land of Israel, you have attempted, ten times in fifty-five years, to drown in blood our aspirations of returning to the land of our fathers and of our national revival. You attacked us in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936, 1947, 1948, between 1949 and 1956, between 1957 and 1966, in 1967, and in 1973. Now let me ask the Arabs to consider: What have the results of these bloody attacks been, from your viewpoint and from ours? You have not succeeded in destroying us; on the contrary, we have increased in numbers and strength. That is how it will continue if you persist in your senseless ways. The tragedy of death affects both sides. You set out to kill us, even our little children, but it is you who are killed.

CANNOT DESTROY ISRAEL

Out of our knowledge of the elementary facts, we can tell you that you do not have the slightest chance of destroying our state, for two reasons:

First, our generation, the generation of destruction and revival, is the generation in which the fighting Jew has come to life again. For centuries, you and other nations in different parts of the world thought that this human type, the fighting Jew, had disappeared forever; but he has arisen and will not disappear again. You need only to look around to know what that means – the fighting Jew: Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Joseph Trumpeldor, the Jewish Battalions in the First World War, Tel Hai, Hagana, IZL, LHY, Palmach, the Jewish units in the Allied armies, Mahal, the pilots, paratroopers, tank crews, gunners – the fighting Jew; Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon – the fighting Jew – David Raziel, Abraham Yair, those who commanded the few when they stood against the many.

The fighting Jew is a human being. He is the son of a Jewish mother, that most marvellous of all God's creatures, with all the softness of her love and the heavy burden of her concern. The fighting Jew loves children, all children – Arab children, too, I assure you. The fighting Jew loves books, loves liberty and hates war, like Garibaldi, but he is prepared to fight for liberty.

The fighting Jew does not want to harm any Arab. He wants peace between us and all Arabs. But if you ever raise a hand against his people, know this: the fighting Jew is fearless, his heart is of steel, his hands are trained for war and his fingers for battle. He will strike the enemy, disperse him, repulse him and destroy him, and ensure that his people shall have life, freedom and human respect in the Land of its Fathers for all eternity.

Secondly, behind our just cause stands our renewed strength. We do not want to harm you, but in case you ever come to believe that you can endanger the existence of our State, know that we can destroy all the sources of your wealth.

Our hands are stretched out to you in peace.

What sense is there in our continuing to wage war against each other, to kill each other, to plan destruction. We appeal to you to make a serious, real, direct effort to replace mutual killing with dialogue (without mediators) between us. Let us all learn from history. Nations have fought each other for decades and even for centuries.

POINTLESS

There was once a Thirty Years' War. There was a Hundred Years' War between England and France. There was another war, in our lifetime, that lasted for thirty years, from 1914 to 1945, with a short armistice in between. How many lives have been destroyed, how many civilisations have disappeared, how many children have been killed and murdered. All those people have come to the conclusion that those wars were pointless, and have made peace. Let us also make a serious, direct, sincere attempt to establish peace between our peoples.

VOICE OF CHAMBERLAIN

It is being argued that if Jews insist on our right to the Land of Israel, to security and peace, war is inevitable. Let us reject that argument. That is the voice of Chamberlain. All peoples believed that after May and September of the year 1938, the voice of Chamberlain would never be heard again. But it is heard again today, also from the State Department, and it says: If Israel does not surrender, does not continue to withdraw without peace, war in the Middle East is inevitable.

That is the Munich system of pressure, and it is characteristic. My generation remembers a small, courageous, well-equipped nation, with fortifications, a nation that knew how to say "no" to the bloodthirsty; but its friends came and told it: surrender, or there will be war. For your own sake and for the sake of world peace, hand over your fortifications, for "demographic" reasons. In May, that people stood fast and did not move and did not surrender, but then came the pressure of its friends, and in September it bent its head. What remains of that country, and what has been the fate of the whole human race, after they listened to the voice of Chamberlain?

NOT INEVITABLE

There is no question of war being inevitable. The proof is there: Yom Kippur. When did our enemies attack us in the North and in the South? When they had come to the conclusion – so Sadat tells us – on Thursday afternoon, a day and a half before Yom Kippur, that we were not ready, that we had not mobilised, that our soldiers were far away and our armour was standing at base camps. Then, only then, did they attack us. Let us learn the lesson.

If our forces are ready and alert, the enemy will know that, if he attacks, he must expect a crushing defeat within the first few hours and he will shrink from attempting an act of aggression that is bound to fail. In view of our experience, we will do better to sound ten precautionary alerts than to make one single mistake of unreadiness. On no account must we accept the argument that war is inevitable, for that is Chamberlain's kind of argument, and its purpose is to put us under pressure.

Above all, there is the justice of our cause. But for our belief that our cause is just, that Zionism is one of the most wonderful things in human history, doing justice by redressing the greatest injustice since man emerged on earth, we would not have held our own in this fight.

Some people like to call Herut all kinds of names. But who is dogmatic? Those who believed that there must be a Jewish State in our lifetime? – and there is; a Jewish army – and there is; "illegal immigration? – and there was; Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel – and it has been made whole. Those who said: go down to the Jordan? – and today everyone says that the Jordan is where we must make our stand? Who is dogmatic? Those who said all these things and have now been proved right by the facts of life? Or those who say: let us give up Judea and Samaria for the sake of peace, while the enemy says: even if you withdraw to the lines of June 1967, you will not have peace; even if you surrender all of East Jerusalem, you will not have peace; even if you surrender the Golan Heights, you will not have peace; even if you withdraw to the lines of November 1947, you will continue to live under a question mark, unless you agree to disappear in Arafat's "secular, democratic State?"

OUT OF TOUCH

When the enemy says all this, and people say: Let us announce concessions and promise that we will withdraw without peace – surely that is being dogmatic and out of touch with the realities of life.

Another name people call us is "extremist." Jews, Zionists, what has happened to us? If a Jew says that Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish people by right, not only to the Jews who live in Eretz Yisrael but to all sons of the Jewish people – is that extremism? Is that not what Herzl said, and Nordau, and Jabotinsky, and Ben Gurion, and Ussishkin? When our fathers prayed for rain, where did they pray that it should fall? Not in the countries where they lived, but here, in this country, in Eretz Yisrael. A man who loves his homeland, who says it is his country, his ancestral heritage, and who wants it to be the heritage of his children – is he an extremist? I call that being moderate.

But there are extremists in Israel, and they compete among themselves to be the one who wants to make the greatest concessions. One is prepared to give up the whole of the Sinai peninsula, and the next to throw in "six lousy kilometres" on the Golan Heights. The next one is prepared to add Judea, and Samaria as well, and the Old City of Jerusalem, or to talk about international arrangements for all of Jerusalem, or to negotiate with Arafat's messengers. Those are the extremists: extremists in the surrender of the mind, in the willingness to surrender that leads, God forbid, to Munich.

There can be no Munich in the Middle East. This little nation and other free nations will make a stand against totalitarian aggression and the base oil blackmail which seeks to destroy great nations, humiliate them to the point of oppression and even ruin their lives. We can give an example of civic courage to other free peoples and make them realise their and our common interests.