My Plan for Peace
In our peace proposal we suggested that a second, narrow United Nations zone be created in the northern Sinai around the district of Yamit—a new town founded several years ago in the desert by the sea-shore. May I point out that the two proposed UN zones—conceived as vital to our national security—make up hardly move [more-JC] than three per cent of the whole Sinai Desert.
In the peace plan, presented here during my visit last December to the President of the United States, and to President Sadat at Ismailia a few days later, we included the proposal that the Israeli settlements in these narrow areas continue to exist, as they should exist.
Were it not for our settlements in the desert zone between the Gaza district and the Egyptian controlled territories in the west, no agreement whatsoever will ever prevent what one calls gunrunning, arms traffic or smuggling of weapons, explosives and ammunition into the Gaza Strip. Again, life would become unbearable. We would again have permanent bloodshed, as we had for the 19 long, protracted years before the Six-Day War.
May I say that, in making this proposal we, again, offered a most far-reaching compromise.
Why? Because we are perfectly entitled, under international law, to demand an appropriate rectification of the international border.
The Six-Day War of 1967 was, in the highest sense of the term, one of legitimate national self-defence against the proclaimed attempt to destroy us.
American Presidents have reaffirmed, again and again, that it was a war "thrust upon" Israel.
In the wake of such a war, it is not only the law, but also the practice, that territorial changes do take place, as agreed upon by the parties.
Should such alternations be disqualified, then the world map, both in East and West, would have to be subjected to immediate radical change. All the boundary changes after both World Wars were brought about as a result of self-defence.
This is the rule. Such is practice and precedent. It applies to Israel in the wake of the defensive war of 1967.
We have refrained again—for the sake of an agreement—from exercising this inherent right. Instead of asking for border rectifications, we have suggested the creation of limited UN zones in which our settlements will continue to exist. Because, exist they should, for the sake of our people's security. They should, because no wrong has been done in turning a small part of the desert into a blossoming garden. Should that garden again be turned into a desert?
To us, it is not only a matter of great human toil. It is also—and decisively—a vital concern of our national security. Without their presence there will be no peace in Gaza, no peace in southern Israel, and hence, no lasting peace in the region.