TIME: 13:15 – 14:15, 22nd November 2017
VENUE: Committee Room 4, House of Lords, Houses of Parliament, London SW1A OPA
Founder & Director, The Miryam Institute
Brigadier General Amir Avivi
Senior Policy Advisor, The Miryam Institute
Benjamin Anthony (BA), Founder and Director, The Miryam Institute
Brigadier General Amir Avivi (BGAA), Senior Policy Advisor, The Miryam Institute
Baroness Deech (BD)
James Rogers (JR)
BA: When it comes to ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, is the proposal being mooted, one which has precedent, and evidence and history behind it that suggests that it will meet with success or do those precedents point to the very opposite? Question number two; when championing a given solution, is the solution being promoted one that is practicable? Quite simply, can it physically, geographically be implemented? Question number three; if the solution is put forth, implemented with the best intention, but meets not with success but rather with failure, would those who championed it be willing to live with the outcome of that failure or is that something exclusively preserved for the people of Israel? Question number four; in the event that a suggestion comes forth and is championed and indeed is implemented and meets not with success but again with failure, will those who purported that this is the way forward be willing to have their children live with the outcome of that failure? Or is that exclusively something offered to the children of the State of Israel? Question number five is this; when putting forth suggestion, ask yourselves, are you championing the establishment of a free, independent, thriving, sovereign, state for the Palestinian Arabs or are you championing something that is rather less than that? At the core of this idea, the New State Solution, we absolutely call for the establishment of a free, independent, sovereign, thriving state for the Palestinian Arabs, living side by side with the State of Israel. We call for an end to the proposition for forced transfers of populations and we call for ideas to be brought to the international community, that if [inaudible] the State of Israel and its residents, and the residents of the new state are able to live, as a consequence of its implementation, in a life, and in an existence and in an environment that allows them to dream, and ultimately reach the very best of their collective and hopefully shared futures. That’s what underpins our presentation. And With that I ask Brigadier General Ami Avivi to address himself to you.
BGAA: Baroness, thank you very much for hosting us today and for everything you are doing for the State of Israel. Thank you all for coming, I understand it’s a busy day today in parliament – with budget, which is important. My name is Amir, I was born in Jerusalem 48 years ago. My father’s family has lived in Jerusalem for 15 generations. My mother’s family survived the holocaust and immigrated to Israel on the years of Israeli independence. I spent most of my childhood outside of Israel due to my father’s job as a senior diplomat in the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs. My father served the country for 51 years. He was Israel’s ambassador in Argentina, in Colombia and in Turkey. I’ve been educated in international schools around the world, in Chile, in Argentina, in Italy and even in the Ivory Coast. I actually graduated from a British school, where I had the honour of becoming a house captain during my last year of studies. Then I returned to Israel and joined the military. When I was young I was deeply engrossed in music, I played the clarinet and the piano – I composed classical music and conducted an orchestra. I thought of becoming a professional musician, but, I don’t know, somehow found myself in a 30-year service in the military. Leading thousands of soldiers in combat, in training sessions, seeing how difficult it is to live a life where you have a sword in your hand all the time.
I came here today to present to you a fresh out of the box solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I feel that, having lived in many different countries and having seen different cultures, this requires out of the box thinking. It requires openness, open-mindedness and I would kindly request everybody in the room: please, when we present today, put for a moment aside your preconceptions, your worldviews. Everything you knew until now about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and hopefully we’ll come with a new notion, how to solve this issue.
BA: So we will dialogue standing up. We are going to run through the questions for about 20 minutes and then we will open to your questions. Now please know, ladies and gents, that we obviously credit you with an understanding of the dynamic at play. So if we do not mention a particular issue that is very close to your heart or to your mind, it is not because we are obfuscating. It is because we are relying upon you to raise it during the Q&A session.
So, let’s leap into the map. Obviously, it does bear mentioning here, that General Avivi is an individual who has fought for over 30 years in service in the Israel Defence Forces. Counterintuitively, in many [inaudible] perception, he is deeply, deeply committed to the notion of ending the conflict. Not necessarily bringing about peace, that is rather distinct, but ending the conflict.
What we have here is a map of the State of Israel. I would like you to talk, in very brief form General, about some of the shortcomings in the two-state solution as commonly understood when it comes to territory and contiguity, if you would.
BGAA: I think that that when we talk about the two state solution, what I see in Israel but also around the world is everybody is dealing with blaming leaders for the failure of the two state solution. I’m not going to talk about leaders and I’m not going to blame anyone. Not President Abbas in the Palestinian Authority or prime Minister Netanyahu.
I want to go to the basics. From the sea, to the Jordan River we are talking about a country; fifty kilometres of width. Now imagine if somebody would have told you, that somewhere in the world somebody is trying to put two nations, fast growing nations, with a large diaspora each, in an area with the width of fifty kilometres. And I claim that this basic, geographical understanding makes the idea basically not realistic. It’s not realistic for the Palestinians and it’s not realistic for Israel. It’s a lose-lose situation. Furthermore, when looking at the Palestinians we see the Gaza Strip here; two million people in a very, very narrow area living in terrible conditions. On the other side we have a population of Palestinians under the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, completely landlocked, surrounded by Israel for good reasons, security reasons.
There is no contiguity to this state and today, being realistic, looking at what’s going on today, there is no two state solution. We’re talking about a three state solution, two and a half state solution. We are talking about Gaza, which is controlled by a completely different government – the Hamas – who has taken control of Gaza. We are talking about a different entity in Judea and Samaria under the Palestinian Authority, and I can tell you this; anybody who says he is in favour of the two state solution is saying basically I don’t care about Gaza. Gaza is out of the game. Everybody is talking about the West Bank, everybody is trying to implement some kind of state, which I think is not a state at all, looking at the details what really people mean in the West Bank. Gaza – completely forgotten. This is how things are looking in the eyes of Palestinians. Talking about Israel, from the sea to the green line of Judea and Samaria, it’s nine miles. I jogged this morning nine miles. Imagine jogging your own country – just in the morning.
BA: I didn’t join you on that.
BGAA: Yeah you didn’t. But tomorrow we’ll do another.
It’s incomprehensible, this is not viable. The State of Israel can’t exist in a nine mile width of a country. Everybody understands that in Israel. All the political parties today in Israel understand this issue and talking about an idea that is really, really not viable and doesn’t make sense, but everybody is talking about.
BA: Now what we have here is a topographical map. People oftentimes talk about typography, I don’t think everybody has the privilege of hearing from a general about such matters. Just tell us about the topographical challenges as a military expert that the audience is seeing here.
BGAA: Well most of the major Israeli cities are on the coast, which of course is the shallow area of the land of Israel; completely controlled by the high mountains of Judea and Samaria. The Israeli and the Palestinian cities are almost connected. Actually Ramallah and Jerusalem are completely connected; it’s one urban area. So are the cities along the shore. So, basically, establishing a Palestinian state in the areas of Judea and Samaria overlooking all the Israeli cities in an area of nine miles, means that the only way this can actually work, is if there is complete peace: nothing happens. But it’s enough that one sniper, shoots on cars along the six Route which is on the green line and the I.D.F. will have to operate and conquer again areas as we did, unfortunately we had to do in 2000 and this is not viable. You can’t have a solution that at the moment something small happens, it’s not working anymore.
BA: Now this is with regard to the challenges of the Israel-Palestinian dynamic, but let’s pull the lens back and look regionally. Talk about what would occur in the context of multiple states falling in the Middle East, were Jordan to be raptured, which many, many people consider a very real possibility. I should just preface the general’s comments by letting you know that as a simple member of the Israel Defence Forces we have trained on several occasions for the eventuality that we may be sent into Jordan, [inaudible] to prop it up militarily in the case that it falls. So, talk about what’s to the east here.
BGAA: I hope everybody understands that this map is completely not updated. There is no Syria, there is no Iraq, there is no Yemen and today we have a Shia Iranian corridor all the way from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. And there is a fight all the time along this corridor, where the Sunnis and the Kurds are trying to stop the Iranians from continuing to spread into Syria and into Lebanon, but this is the reality now. And this corridor is starting to move towards Jordan. So today on the Jordanian border we have Iranians and Iraqi Shias. Now Jordan is not a very stable country today. It’s assisted a lot by the United States, by Europe and Israel, but who knows, I don’t know if in three or four years there will be Jordan. Now Israel can’t allow a situation where this Iranian corridor goes all the way to the Jordan River and then all the way to Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria. This is not viable for us and therefore Israel understands and will always, always sit on the Jordan River to defend the land of Israel.
BA: Can I just make a quick appeal before we move forward. Can everyone just take a moment to make sure their phones are switched to the silent position, [inaudible].
So we’ve we’ve looked at this. I want to go back to the map and make one point before we introduce the New State Solution. As a general in the Israel Defense Forces and I’ve seen you brief together with myself, members of the United States Senate to this point members of the United States Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike. I’ve seen you brief some of the most esteemed graduate institutions throughout North America. You are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which a lot of people are surprised to hear from you. Explain why and how that links into the shortcomings of the two state paradigm.
BGAA: Well, as I said before, the two state solution completely ignores the fact that Gaza is controlled by Hamas and Hamas is not a part of the negotiations. It’s two million Palestinians, half the Palestinian people not being part of the discussion. The U.N. is saying that in two years, people won’t be able to live in Gaza and nobody is doing nothing about it. Now, they are our neighbours, it’s our interest that things in Gaza will go for good and not for worse. There is indoctrination that I don’t need; I would like you to think how, what it means to indoctrinate children five years old, six years old; what will become of this place in ten or fifteen years? They are all being grown to hate Jews, to hate Israelis and actually hate you all. To hate the Western world. And we have to stop that. As long as things are moving forward in the future, things there will get worse not better. We need to do something about it.
BA: So what we call for is, as I mentioned, the establishment of the free independent, it bears reiterating, sovereign, thriving state for the Palestinian Arabs and we call for people to reimagine the parameters of that. And what you have here are three maps: you have a map of the Gaza strip, a map that shows the Gaza Strip in the context of the top right from your vantage point, with the Gaza Strip in the context of the Sinai Peninsula and at the bottom you have a map demonstrating part the context of the Sinai Peninsula, relative to the mainland of Egypt. Please General, tell people what we’re looking at here when it comes to the New State Solution.
BGAA: Well, this is Gaza. This is the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai Peninsula is sixty thousand kilometres squared. Gaza and the West Bank together it’s less than six thousand; one tenth of the Sinai Peninsula.
As I said in the beginning, If we don’t bring to the discussion more land we are talking about a zero sum game. That’s what we are talking about. We need more land and I believe that the Arab world should assist the Palestinians and Israel to solve this issue. It’s not the private problem of the people of Israel how to build a viable Palestinian state. So I think that everybody is focusing on Judea and Samaria and the Palestinian Authority and I say let’s look at it exactly the opposite. Let’s focus on Gaza, because Gaza needs our help now. Let’s save those two million Palestinians and let’s give them enough land to build a viable country. To build a viable Palestinian state.
BA: Now what we are seeking to do is really shift the paradigm, or invert it rather, and convert the Gaza Strip, ladies and gentleman, from being viewed, and this is why it’s never actually directly tackled by legislators and lawmakers, to bring the Gaza Strip from its current incarnation as being part of, or the intractable problem, to becoming an integral part and prerequisite for a broader and more successful solution. So just to show this, there are shortcomings that the General spoke about such as Judea and Samaria being landlocked. Obviously that limitation is not attendant to the Gaza Strip. There are other opportunities that come by way of that. General, if you would just talk a little bit about the space, the trade, the economy, the per capita earning, so forth.
BGAA: I think there is a deep understanding that the major part of the solution is having a viable economy for the Palestinian people. Israel’s G.D.P. per capita today is almost forty thousand dollars. Only second to Germany in Europe. In Gaza the G.D.P. is less than a thousand dollars. In the West Bank, since many Palestinians work in Israel and they gain more money working in Israel, the things are a bit better; it’s around three thousand Dollars. It’s not enough to solve the problem and I believe that in the beautiful shores of North Sinai Peninsula, open to the wide world for trade, for commerce, for tourism, full of natural resources, there is a possibility to build a viable country with growth of economy and different future.
BA: Now, again, today we have the pleasure of hearing from, not only a General of the Israeli Defence Forces, but in his immediate past position was that of being the senior auditor of the entire Israeli Defence Establishment. This is an individual who understands issues of procurement, combat readiness, counter-terror work; we are very, very privileged to be able to learn by way of his views. Now when I originally wrote the position paper on the New State Solution, I called for the new state to be a demilitarized entity. General Avivi has since educated me and he’s not alone. There are a number of experts with a similar standing within Israel Defence Forces who share his view and he says that actually, the new state in line with our desire to bring about truly sovereign entity, can be militarized if it so wishes to be. Can you talk about why topographically and also in your experience, compare if you would, army to army, against terror organisations.
BGAA: Well I think that first of all if you want to seriously offer the Palestinians something they can expect, you can’t put restrictions on a sovereign country. If you are saying to somebody: look I am willing to have a camp but it will be demilitarized – this is not a country. So the question is, can we build a Palestinian state in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza and let them do whatever they feel they need to do: build an army, build their economy, so on. I say yes we can.
I was a brigade commander on the Egyptian border. My headquarters were actually here on the Mount called Mount Sagi and here we have exactly the opposite situation that we had in Judea and Samaria. In Judea and Samaria, it’s the mountains of Judea and Samaria that control the major cities of Israel. In this area, it’s the mountains of the Negev that completely overlook and control the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. This border came to being 1906 in an agreement between the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire and the Ottoman Empire was really preoccupied about holding the higher ground. The British were more interested in water sources, therefore in this area all the water sources are on the Egyptian side and all the high ground is on the Israeli side. We have enough strategic depths to deal with any threat, even if there is no peace – we can live with that, as we do on the Lebanese border or the Syrian border. And, as you mentioned Benjamin, we in the military we always prefer dealing with armies than with terror, it’s easier for an army to deal with another army than terror.
BA: Just a quick allusion to what we foresee here. General, talk them through this in very brief form, cause I want to conclude with one final statement.
BGAA: Well we’re seeing here the shores of Tel Aviv. I think that the shores of the Sinai Peninsula are even nicer and I really think we can bring a vision to the Palestinian people and say to them: look, this can be done by you as well. You can have a really bright future in this area.
BA: What we want to show by way of this slide, obviously this is a satellite image taken during the night overlooking the very area that we’re talking about, there is an opportunity there. This opportunity is very apparent to individuals who see this map. It’s an opportunity that ought not to be dismissed, it’s one of the reasons, they’re not the only reason that we confidently commend the new state solution to the people present here and far beyond. Just give a quick outline General of what we see particularly on the Nile delta.
BGAA: What we’re seeing here the state of Egypt. This enormous area here, but we see actually that the state of Egypt has been like that for thousands of years, has been built along the Nile. Everything is here or along the Nile and a bit of population in the Suez Canal. The Sinai Peninsula is almost completely empty. It’s a huge area, very few people and when you look to the north and you ask yourself: OK what are the possibilities here? What will happen here in fifty years? How will this area look in a hundred years? Israel is the fastest growing Western country in the world. We expect to have around two million people, twenty million people sorry, in Israel in twenty five years. The Palestinians are growing fast as well, there is not enough room, we have to acknowledge that and there is a possibility to solve this problem, even taking a small portion of the Sinai Peninsula.
BA: What we’d like to do, just before we open to your questions, we want to conclude with one quote. This quote is something we recognize comes from Secretary of State John Kerry. And he asserted that the United States is deeply committed to securing Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. We are also committed to an independent viable Palestinian state, where Palestinians live with freedom and dignity. The only way to achieve that is through a negotiated solution that creates two states, for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security. And what we would humbly encourage everybody to recognize, is that what we have presented by way of the new state solution is entirely apparent with that description. It is two states, two peoples, living side by side in security, it merely requires that we reimagine the boundaries of that agreement and of that entity.
So we’re going to open to your questions now, I’m going to take the moderators privilege, Baroness Deech, if I may by asking, perhaps General one thing we neglected: could you just say, very swiftly why Egypt might be interested in this and then we’ll it open [inaudible].
BGAA: Well I think that when you bring such an idea to the table, you need to ask yourself: are there real interests to the different players in this idea to go for [inaudible] idea. The first thing I get when we present that: Oh! The Palestinians won’t agree to that. The Egyptians won’t agree to that. And when people say that, they are talking about opinions, they are not talking about real interests. And I want to address real interest and I want to say to you that the Egyptians are suffering from one of the worst situations they have ever been with. People in Egypt are starving. There is no food in Egypt. The security situation is terrible and Israel is trying to assist Egypt as best it can, especially in the Sinai Peninsula, but still, Egypt is not stable. Egypt has lost its hegemony in the Arabic world. They are not leading anymore, and they want to lead. So the question is: does the international community have. something to offer to their Egyptian, if they give a small part of the Sinai Peninsula? The answer is [inaudible] yes. The international community can take Egypt and bring it back to the centre of attention, they can make them again the leaders of the Arabic world. They can assist economically. They can solve with the international community the problem of ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, nobody is dealing with that. Everybody is attacking ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Why not in the Sinai Peninsula? When you attack ISIS in Syria and Iraq it’s the Iranians coming in. When you attack ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, this is securing Israel and Egypt, and the Palestinians – that’s a win-win, not a win-lose.
BA: Thank you very much. Baroness Deech, [inaudible] hands.
BD: OK, this is open to question now. Thank you very much, this is the most novel and interesting idea I’ve heard for a long time. Can I just, say what about the West Bank?
BGAA: Yes, that’s a very good question, thank you very much. I think that Benjamin said it from the beginning, we are completely against moving anyone without their consent anywhere. Not Jews and not Palestinians. But we’re saying that if there is a viable, thriving Palestinian state in the area of Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. We would offer several things. One, I think that the people in the West Bank, the Palestinian people in the West Bank should be offered as Jews are offered, packages, economical packages, to move. I don’t know if you know, but the Palestinians are conducting every year surveys and asking their own people questions. One of the questions they ask is how or how much would you like to emigrate. From the West Bank or from Gaza. In Gaza its fifty percent, in the West Bank it’s around twenty five percent. Many people want to emigrate. You know we tend to think that Palestinians are really attached to their land. And I say that Palestinians are no different than Jews, some are attached, some are not. You have Jews living in Britain and in the United States, we have some we live in Tel Aviv or will never live in Jerusalem and the opposite. They are an open society and they want a standard of living, so first of all I think that we can achieve a situation where quite a few people will say yes we want to be part of this successful enterprise. We want a new life. For anybody else who says I want to stay where I am, this is where my ancestors lived this is my home. They will be given Israeli residency and Palestinian citizenship. This will solve for the people of Israel, the real threat of not being a Jewish state anymore. I think that is not about how many Palestinians live in Judea and Samaria, it’s about voting for the Knesset so we will be glad to have the Palestinians have residency in Israel and citizenship in their own country. Before that, may I remind you, all of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria have citizenship in Jordan. And Jordan one day just took from them this citizenship, completely against international law. They found themselves without a citizenship, and they are entitled to citizenship and I believe they are entitled to citizenship in their own state.
BA: Just to supplement what the general said and so there’s no misunderstanding, when the censuses were taken with regard to how many people wish to emigrate, of course they are not saying that they wish to emigrate to the new state. But what the percentages reflect is that counter to what many people perceive, this is not a monolithic society and they are not all, by any stretch of the imagination, religiously attached to a given land. The question is whether or not they are induced to move to a more promising future. Now I just want to humanize that concept for one moment and then we’ll move to the next question.
I am, as you might have discerned, born, raised in the United Kingdom. I now reside in the state of Israel. Nobody forced me to move to the state of Israel, I was never transferred to the state of Israel. I viewed the state of Israel is offering me a better future for a number of reasons. The State of Israel greeted me by way [inaudible] was called the ‘Sal Klita’, an absorption package. This is the model that has resulted in the immigration to Israel, the ‘Aliyah’ movement. Millions of individuals from throughout the diaspora. It is a well proven package, it would require of course to be applied with regard to the citizens of Judea and Samaria, it would require that it is sent as in the Israeli model directly to the individuals wishing to immigrate, not to the corrupt leadership that would likely take the stance. So that’s just something to consider. We seek, we imagine and anticipate a minority movement, not a majority, about thirty percent or so. Baroness.
BD: Right can we take questions. I think I’d take a couple of them at the time, so that our two speakers. Right, Lord Singh over there and the lady in red.
Question 1: Thank you. I’m going to speak from a Sikh perspective, so I don’t expect many people to necessarily agree with me. But you’ve been talking constantly about two different people, except when you came to self-interest, then you said Jews and Arabs in moving about aren’t very different. There is self-interest in that they both share [inaudible] a common desire for peace, a common desire for prosperity. These emphasize, and now I’m coming to my own religion, it shows we are all one people. All of humanity, it is these artificial differences that create and perpetuate conflict all the time. [inaudible] I’ve seen it in India, let’s have a two state solution for India and Pakistan, the Muslims and Hindus. And has it worked? It has caused nothing but continuous [inaudible]. What about a one state solution in which both Arabs and Jews enjoy the same privileges and same guarantees of peace and freedom of religion that we all talk about, but brush to one side.
BD: Lady there, could you [inaudible].
Question 2: Right, firstly can I say what a huge honour and respect it is to meet you and thank you for the work you do for the state of Israel and for Henry Jackson for bringing you here. I see this in a way, as a wonderful solution but I, despite what you said, I can’t see what is the opinion of who are presently in power, buying into it. For example the whole commitment of the Palestinian state to the capital of Jerusalem, you know, their various holy lands and also, by coronary with that, I’d love to ask you if you have any evidence that Trump & Co. on one hand and Sunni Arab nations, would be minded to buy into this solution. Otherwise it seems to me to be like the Soviet solution of Jews, give them [inaudible] and they’ll say the same.
BD: So, one state solution and buy in from others.
BGAA: OK. I’ll first answer your question. We have been seeing in the last few months a huge change in the Middle East and this huge change is due to the threat of Iran to the Sunni countries. The countries are threatened by Iran and they have come to a conclusion that what can help them dramatically to deal with the Iranian threat is the state of Israel.
The Palestinians for many years have been an asset to the Arab world in the fighting and delegitimizing Israel. Suddenly we have a new situation that for some extent the Palestinians are starting to become a liability for the Arab world on their way to get close to Israel. Now why does the Arab world want to be close to Israel? That’s for a very simple reason. They have seen in the last administration, the Obama administration, how the United States move from the Sunni world to back up the Iranians and they are scared. And they know that Trump thinks differently, but they have no idea what will happen in the next election. Maybe the Democrats will win again and maybe again United States will change. What they saw during the eight years of Obamas administration is that Israel doesn’t change, Israel opposes Iran and sees it as a threat and is willing to assist the Sunni Arab world in this fight. So this is a whole new game. Completely, the Middle East has changed completely and I think that one of the things that troubles me, is that no matter how much things change in the world, people stick with the same views. Now if it was business. we would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. OK but countries also go bankrupt. We see it today, we need to be relevant and I think there is a fairly good chance that we can have our Saudi Arabia and Egypt for their own interests, not for the love of Israel and not for the love for the of the Palestinians. They don’t love the Palestinians and they also don’t love Israel. It’s all about realism; it’s interest and there is interest to get close to Israel and solve this issue.
BGAA: Regarding your question sir. You know we Jews, we Jews, we believe in the Messiah and we believe that when the Messiah will come, all the world will be one universal united world.
Question 1: Why wait?
BGAA: OK. But, you know. After two thousand years of pogroms, of being thrown from one country to another, of six million people being burned alive in the Holocaust, we tend to be a bit more realistic about what’s going on, just before the Messiah comes. So we need, seriously, we need to be realistic OK. The Palestinians want their own state, they don’t want to be part of Israel. Israel, as Jewish people feel they need a home for the Jewish people who have been persecuted for years and even now as we speak, antisemitism in the world is rising to levels we have seen only before the Second World War and we want a safe Jewish State for us.
Question 1: [inaudible]
BD: But if the Indians and the Pakistanis can’t live together and North Cyprus.
Question 1: No! They could before.
BD: Well, they had to split through the enormous bloodshed. You know you see it all over the world, it’s impossible to share.
BA: Just before we move to the next question I just wanted to supplement as the lady had a question. Madam, are you with me? No. What’s this lady’s name? Excuse me. Hi, you had a question.
Question 2: Oh yeah. So sorry
BA: So Judy, I just want to add a layer to this and I am not going to call upon the individual who was witness to this and [inaudible] cause I don’t know whether they would want to be identified. But we personally, personally, I personally briefed the Trump campaign in Trump Tower between debate one and debate two. Debate two traditionally deals with matters of foreign policy. The candidate was not present, but his senior advisor was and the incident we would have [inaudible] for the Democrats, we were not asked. And the question was very, very direct. He said, the candidate does not support the two state solution. But he does, he wants to know if there is an alternative to that. We then explained what the boundaries are and the parameters are in a new state solution. That individual was [inaudible] governance by Donald Trump and is now a, the, senior advisor when it comes to negotiations. So I can tell you, I can’t say that it is the policy that’s being backed now, but I can tell you that it is firmly beneath the noses of the individuals who are responsible for fixing that policy, at the very highest levels, without any exaggeration.
With regard to the Lord Singh, you used the term artificial. I just want to again, try to humanize this. I assure you sir, without looking at ancient history or even modern history, but rather almost current events, as a veteran of the Second Lebanon War, Operation Pillar of Defence, Operation [inaudible] Protective Edge, it does not feel so artificial when one has rockets fired towards its citizens and civilians. And I think the people should be instructed rather [inaudible] by that, than by way of a theory of ideas.
BD: OK. Let me take two more questions, I have to go. David and the gentleman in the back with his hand out. I’m sorry I have to go.
Question 3: Quick question, one [inaudible] what [inaudible] of the area of Judea and Samaria, [inaudible] to be.
BA: Thank you. I just want to say goodbye to Baroness Deech. Thank you so much.
BGAA: Sorry sir, I did not hear the question. Could you ask again?
Question 3: Yes. Under your proposal what is the state, what is the status to the area of Judea and Samaria, will it be part of Israel? Or?
BGAA: Yeah. We see the whole area annexed to Israel. We see part of the state of Israel. We see all of the population, Palestinian population being granted residency in the Israeli state.
Question 4: My name is [inaudible]. The Israeli historian Bernie Morris, One States, Two States argues that Arab rejectionism and the existence of Jews in that area has been going on for nearly a century. Do you disagree with that?
BGAA: I agree, I do agree with that.
Question 4: Why do you think this would work?
BGAA: Well, for a very simple reason. I think that the people in Gaza desperate. There are more worried about their lives than about hating Israel and they need a solution. Now what we can do is first of all focus on Gaza and give them a real solution, by taking a land, of course with Egypt agreeing to it, in the other part of the peninsula and creating a viable Palestinian state. Now I don’t know if this Palestinian state is going to be friendly or not, but I can tell you for sure that we can cope with anything that will happen. But we can’t cope with a situation where we have aggression and terror in Judea and Samaria. This is not viable for Israel and therefore Israel will always control Judea and Samaria, somehow. Whether it’s the IDF operating and so on. We think, that for the long term, to have the current situation, where we all the time need to operate and arrest every night terrorists in the Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria and we all the time deal with incitement inside the Palestinian authority, in schools which generate and create terror, we need to stop them. We want them to be Israeli residents we want them to have Israeli education, look how well we are doing with two million Israeli Arabs who live in Israel – we are doing great! You can go inside my wife’s Facebook. She volunteers in the Israeli Red Cross, it’s called Magen David. Fifty percent of the volunteers in the Israeli red cross are Israeli Arabs. They are all friends of her in the Facebook, we meet them, we eat together, we are friends. It can work. They are no different from the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. That’s exactly the same Arabs.
BA: Again, Mr. Bernett it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a diplomatic imperative and urgency and virtue to all of this and that dynamic is in [inaudible] people’s. Firstly, talking about Arab rejectionism and we ought not to overlook the fact that Saddat made peace with Begin. That was an absolute rejectionist prior to that being undertaken. You’ll agree with me of course, I assume. The other thing that you should keep in mind is that we are talking about and I am reiterating it now for the third time, we’re talking about an independent, free, sovereign, thriving state for the Palestinian Arabs where they will fix their own military policy, immigration policy, the right of return and so on so forth many things beyond. What we seek to do, as one of the parameters of what we’re championing and moving forward is we seek to have something that is so very appealing that in the event that it was rejected it is clear that rejectionism is at the heart of that. It’s very, very important that we be able to put that forward. Now we don’t believe that that is the case in the two state paradigm. In the two-state paradigm there are any number of considerations that I can tell you as a citizen of the state of Israel and the General will tell you the very same and millions more, we would not accept. We would not accept having independence without the ability to defend ourselves by ourselves against threat. We would not accept that. We would not accept a security force within our territory that polices us, rather than we doing it to ourselves. This is an opportunity which enjoys the rare confluence of territorial occasion and existent technology that enables the state of Israel to make its due and just contribution to this thriving state we speak of.
JR: OK. Yes, please.
Question 5: The late Rabbi Hugo Gryn used to say ’You don’t make peace with tour friends, you make peace with your enemies.’ I believe that you have to sometimes therefore study your theological, so to speak, [inaudible] adversary. And I think, Israel is not doing that sufficiently. There are a number of countries in the Sunni world, who actually want to have a peace arrangement with Israel. But Israel demands recognition. Now from the point of view of Islam, as they were if you like for a long time, they cannot, if you like, from the [inaudible] point of view, recognise Israel. But we continue, or Israel continues, I have a beautiful place in Israel, I go there quite often, to demand recognition. I believe that it would be much better to look at this in a more subtle way.
BA: Sir, forgive me, I’m so sorry, just cause we are under hammer for time.
Question 5: I’m going to be very quick.
BA: Could I ask for your question please? I must insist cause we have ten minutes.
Question 5: The question is can we go for consular arrangement like Taiwan has with countries like Saudi Arabia which are the defenders of the Koran and others who are [inaudible].
BGAA: Although Israel is saying that we want recognition I think that what really the government of Israeli is saying, is that we want not to be shot at, OK. When we started the Oslo agreement, the Oslo agreement was about not trusting each and therefore they said OK let’s start with Gaza we see what happens with Gaza and then we move forward. Maybe a minute after the driving forces left the Gaza they started building an industry of rockets and started shooting Israel. It should have stopped then, ok. Now, I think that, unfortunately the Palestinian government, the Palestinian Authority or Hamas has brought a lot of misery to the Palestinian people and I think that most of the Palestinian people are quite fed up with this situation. This week we had one of our generals, who is in charge of the humanitarian aid, speaking to Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and it was all over the Israeli news that people said ‘Sir, please run for presidency in the Palestinian Authority, we are fed up with this with this government’ and I think I can say that inside the Palestinian society there are new leaders emerging, looking at things differently, more realistically and when President Abbas, who is already quite old, more than 80, will go away, I think this is going to be a whole new game and everybody here who says look you can’t talk to them, they don’t want, I think that the young generation is different. They’re living in a different world and there are no opportunities and the question is: Do we know what to do with this opportunity or who are going to continue with the same fruitless idea that is not going anywhere?
BA: Just two quick points with regard to the premise of your question and I submit them with humility, but with very real conviction. Point number one the idea that one makes peace with one’s enemies not one’s friends is of course only a partial statement. If you take a cursory view of history you’ll see that one makes peace with one’s enemies only after the one has crashed ones enemies. We’re not talking about crashing individuals here, we want to avoid that. If you want an example of that, think about the clear cut victories of World War Two, versus the far from clear cut victories or failures of the Iraq incursion. So we have to deal with the whole quote. The other point is this. I think I made it clear at the outset, but in case I didn’t, you spoke about making peace. We are not living in pursuit of peace. I could make the case that the United Kingdom does not enjoy peace, it enjoys quiet in the homeland but is involved in a great many operations in foreign lands. What we seek is an end to the conflict, that’s very distinct and that’s one of the reasons that we have to deal with this in a realistic fashion.
JR: OK, we have to finish here by fourteen fifteen sharp, so I’ll take maybe two more questions and then I think that will allow us to wind up. Yes, the lady in the back.
Question 6: Thank you. I’m Ellie [inaudible]. I’m a lecturer in Security and Conflict Resolution at UCL and a question, you talked about the security and you talked about the economic, which is undoubtedly a sensible solution. But what, can you just give me some insights into your vision on the institutional, political changes that would be needed to ensure their representation or it doesn’t become more politics by other means?
JR: Two at a time. Who else would like to? Yes, the gentleman at the back near the window.
Question 6: Under your plan, would the Palestinians be expected to give up any claim to Jerusalem and access to their holy places?
BGAA: Thank you very much for your questions. I’ll start with Jerusalem, being the most important city in the world, as I see it. Jerusalem is the most important city in the world and it’s important for Jews, for Christians, and for Muslims. And it should be would be always, always open for everybody to come as it is today. Now Jerusalem is a jewel. Don’t take a jewel and cut it in two halves, doesn’t make sense. Jerusalem will always remain the capital of Israel and will always remain united. I can’t see Jerusalem be broken again. Now I’ll tell you a short story, I told you before that when I was young, studied in a British school and when I was 17 I brought my friends to Israel and we went to visit Bethlehem, the place of birth of Jesus, but also the place of birth of David the king. At that time in 86 there were 90 percent Christians and ten percent Muslims in Bethlehem. Many years later came the Palestinian Authority and now we’re looking at 90 percent Muslims, ten percent Christians and I can assure you that if things are going to stay the way they are, in ten years there won’t be even one Christian in the most important city for the Christian world. They’re all moved to Santiago, almost half a million Palestinian, Christian Palestinians living in Chile.
Looking at the Middle East, Christians are being burned alive, crucified, decapitated and thrown out of every country in the Muslim world. This is reality. And in this reality the only state that can ensure what you are saying, that the place will be open for everybody, for Muslims, for Christians and for Jews, is the state of Israel. And in our solution, since we’re talking about a state, a viable Palestinian state in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, I guess that the Palestinians would have to decide which capital they want, they can choose Gaza, they can choose [inaudible] or they can create their own Washington and build a new marvellous city in the desert of the Sinai Peninsula.
BA: Just before you come back to the lady’s question, with regard to the freedom of worship which I think was part of your question about Jerusalem, that would absolutely be assured sir, the freedom of worship would endure and the State of Israel is the only entity that’s ensured that for the three monotheistic religions thus far. The lady had a question. I’m going to I’m going to push you for a very sharp answer to that just because we will have to leave the room.
BGAA: Yes! As I said before, there are new rising leaders in the Palestinian society and we should look at them and we should choose the right people to deal with and it’s not necessarily the government they have now. Not the Hamas certainly, the Hamas should be taken out by an international pressure and all the experts in Israel say that after Abu Mazen we are not sure that there will even be a Palestinian authority, we need to find new leaders and we have some ideas who we can talk to and who would be interested to build a viable Palestinians state.
BA: I also want to say that in the initial position paper, you should be aware that it doesn’t call for the new state to be a democracy. That would be an imposition by us on the new state. That’s not necessarily what would be required, that’s something they would have to move to themselves. Obviously there’s a far more detailed position than what we were afforded the time to answer and therefore I bounce back with a question to you; when are you inviting us to a lecture at UCL.
Question 5: [inaudible].
BA: There you go. Now we have witnesses.
JR: I would just end by saying thank you all for coming. Thank you also for your proposal and for coming to speak to us and we do have to finish here within the next minute. Thank you very much for [inaudible].
BA: Just before we all adjourn, one or two points of information for you. Number one, I want to extend my sincere, sincere thanks to the Henry Jackson Society for hosting us. This is the second collaboration and we feel very humbled by [inaudible]. Thank you indeed, you are all wonderful to work with. Secondly, myself and General Avivi are more than happy to continue the conversation on an informal basis in the corridors outside. If you have questions, we are not running anywhere. And the last point is this, the New State Solution, if you go on to Google and you type in the new state solution you will see a paper about it. In December of this year, we will be having a laboratory. That laboratory is the first phase of a three phase plan, for the production of a serious white policy position paper. The laboratory one is the security aspects, it will be overseen by Brigadier General Amir Avivi, Brigadier General Shahar [inaudible], the commander of the IDF forces, the immediate past commander of Israeli intelligence, the immediate past commander of the logistics and tech department of the Israel Defence Forces and the immediate past head of procurement as well as one of the operatives from the prime minister’s office. Stage number two will be a bank of international lawyers, wish me luck with that one, and stage number three will be a bank of economists. So that’s what’s going to be there and we look forward to moving this towards a central part within the general discourse about how we can end the conflict. It’s been a real, real privilege and honour and I just want to thank my friends who are here in this room. It’s been a great, great opportunity for me to see you all to meet you all. Thank you and we’ll adjourn.