Speech #2 - "Program for Dealing with the Palestinians"

"Program for Dealing with the Palestinians" - Speech by Ariel Sharon, 2000

This purported title of the speech ("Program for Dealing with the Palestinians") was added by the editor of the book that published it. As far as can be ascertained, the speech has no title. Adding a title, especially an inaccurate title, to an untitled speech without informing students that it is not part of the speech, is misleading and deceptive.

In addition, the speech is not about "dealing with" Palestinian Arabs; neither that nor any similar phrase appears anywhere in the speech. The phrase “dealing with”, which often indicates nefarious intent or acts, misleads the reader about Israel's intentions.

In the speech itself, only two out of the six sections have anything to do with 'Palestinians' - one is about refugees, the other about the demilitarization of areas under Palestinian Authority control. The four other sections concern Jerusalem, security issues, and water.

The text's introduction to the speech is both inaccurate and misleading. Its description of the speech is in black type; our comments are in blue type:

"Running to become the candidate for prime minister for Likud, a conservative political party". This sentence misstates the Israeli political process and fails to explain the difference in meaning between the word "conservative" in the Israeli political context versus its meaning in U.S. politics.

"[Ariel] Sharon issued this statement following his famous visit to the Muslim shrine in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock." Sharon visited the Temple Mount (a Jewish holy site), NOT Dome of the Rock (a mosque which is also a Muslim holy site). The text not only misstates facts, it negates the Jewish religious connection with Jerusalem and gives credence to the false claim that Sharon deliberately provoked Arab violence by visiting a holy Muslim site.

"Accompanied by hundreds of armed Israeli soldiers" The inclusion of the word “armed” is unnecessary - soldiers are presumed to carry arms - and creates a biased picture of a militarized Israel. The issue is not whether Israeli soldiers carry guns - as with soldiers from every other nation, they do - it is the question of why Sharon, the head of a Jewish nation, was required to be accompanied by numerous soldiers in order to visit a holy Jewish site within that nation's capital.

"the visit sparked a Palestinian protest movement that, in conjunction with long-standing Palestinian grievances, led to the second Intifada." The Palestinian Authority has confirmed that the second intifada was planned well in advance of Sharon’s visit.


The text of Sharon's speech is accurate:

"I believe it is possible to reach an agreement with a united and undivided Jerusalem, but in a different way. In my view, we must concentrate all our efforts to arrive at a broad national consensus based on clear unequivocal "red lines." I propose six red lines, which can serve as a basis for broad national consensus, strengthen Israel's position, and enable us to reach a better and more secure agreement:

1. Greater Jerusalem, united and undivided, must be the eternal capital of Israel and under full Israeli sovereignty. The question of Jerusalem should not remain open, as it may become the time bomb of the next conflict.

2. Israel will retain under its full control sufficiently wide security zones - in both the East and the West. The Jordan Valley* in its broadest sense...will be the eastern security zone of Israel. This includes the steep eastern slopes of the hill ridge of Judea and Samaria overlooking the valley. Israel will maintain contiguous presence and control of the entire valley up to the Jordan River, including the border passes. The western security zone will include the line of hills commanding the coastal plain and controlling Israel's vital underground water resources. Strategic routes will be retained under Israel's control.

3. Jewish towns, villages and communities in Judea, Samaria [both encompassing the West Bank] and Gaza, as well as access roads leading to them, including sufficient security margins along them, will remain under full Israeli control.

4. The solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees from 1948-1967 will be based on their resettlement and rehabilitation in the places where they live today (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, etc.). Israel does not accept under any circumstances the Palestinian demand for the right of return. Israel bears no moral or economic responsibility for the refugees' predicament.

5. As a vital existential need, Israel must continue to control the underground fresh water aquifers in western Samaria, which provides a major portion of Israel's water. The Palestinians are obligated to prevent contamination of Israel's water resources.

6. Security arrangements: All the territories under control of the Palestinian Authority will be demilitarized. The Palestinians will not have an army - only a police force. Israel will maintain complete control of the whole air space over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

I believe that any government in Israel that will adopt and implement these principles will strengthen Israels deterrence and could reach a better and more secure peace, one that will ensure Israel’s long-term national strategic interest."


Inaccuracies in Sharon's speech:

"The Jordan Valley exists to the East of the West Bank, meaning that the West Bank would exist entirely within the state of Israel without bordering another country." The comment implies that the creation of a state surrounded by another state is a new and unacceptable concept. However, enclaves (a state within another entity) are neither unheard of nor a barrier to establishing independence. The nations of Lesotho, San Marino, and Vatican City are all enclaves; there are also extranational enclaves in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Many other nations would be enclaves but for the presence of a water boundary.