Condoleezza Rice, at a roundtable with the traveling press in
[T]he question is trying to really move forward toward the establishment of a Palestinian state that uses all the tools that we have -- the roadmap, if possible the Arab initiative, the -- I continue to believe that one of the most important speeches of all time is the Sharon Herzliya speech -- the President's various interactions with these leaders, and the desire I think now across a broad range of both polities for a two-state solution.
One of the most important speeches of all time? Let’s look at Sharon’s December 4, 2002 speech to the Herzliya Conference:
Twenty-seven months ago the Palestinian Authority commenced a campaign of terror against the State of
Israel. Since then, we have been confronting a ferocious battle against a culture of bloodshed and murder, which has targeted Jews and Israelis everywhere. . . .
This is not the place to ask what led the PA Chairman to question the inner strength and determination which has always characterized the citizens of
Israel, but it is clear that the terror has not defeated and will never defeat the State of Israel. They tried to break our spirit -- and failed.
On June 24th this year, President Bush presented his plan for a true solution to our conflict with the Palestinians. The peace plan outlined in the President's speech is a reasonable, pragmatic and practicable one, which offers a real opportunity to achieve an agreement. . . . After concerted efforts, the
U.S. Administration has understood and agreed that the only way to achieve a true peace agreement with the Palestinians is progress in phases, with the first phase being a complete cessation of terror. Only after a cessation of terror . . . will the commencement of peace negotiations between the parties be possible. . . .
It was indeed a great speech. But it is not the speech Condi meant. It could not have been: the entire purpose of her trip was to apply maximum pressure, on the weakest government in Israeli history, to forego the basic principle that Sharon had established, and which lays at the heart of the Roadmap: no peace negotiations until terror ceases.
Perhaps Condi meant
The Roadmap is a clear and reasonable plan, and it is therefore possible and imperative to implement it. The concept behind this plan is that only security will lead to peace. And in that sequence. Without the achievement of full security within the framework of which terror organizations will be dismantled it will not be possible to achieve genuine peace, a peace for generations. This is the essence of the Roadmap.
The opposite perception, according to which the very signing of a peace agreement will produce security out of thin air, has already been tried in the past and failed miserably. And such will be the fate of any other plan which promotes this concept. These plans deceive the public and create false hope. There will be no peace before the eradication of terror.
But it’s not likely Condi meant that speech either. Later in the speech,
Nor is it likely that
I take this opportunity to appeal to the Palestinians and repeat, as I said at Aqaba: it is not in our interest to govern you. We would like you to govern yourselves in your own country. A democratic Palestinian state with territorial contiguity in Judea and
Samaria and economic viability, which would conduct normal relations of tranquility, security and peace with Israel.
The speech that Condi had in mind as one of the most important of all time was not likely either of
This is a fateful hour for
Israel. We are on threshold of a difficult decision, the likes of which we have seldom faced, the significance of which for the future of our country in this region is consistent with the difficulty, pain, and dispute it arouses within us. . . . This is a people that has courageously faced and still faces the burden and terror of the ongoing war, which has continued from generation to generation; in which, as in a relay race, fathers pass the guns to their sons; in which the boundary between the front line and the home front has long been erased; in which schools and hotels, restaurants and marketplaces, cafes and buses have also become targets for cruel terrorism and premeditated murder. . . .
I know the implications and impact of the Knesset’s decision on the lives of thousands of Israelis who have lived in the Gaza Strip for many years, who were sent there on behalf of the governments of Israel, and who built homes there, planted trees and grew flowers, and who gave birth to sons and daughters, who have not known any other home. I am well aware of the fact that I sent them and took part in this enterprise, and many of these people are my personal friends. I am well aware of their pain, rage, and despair.
However . . . I also believe in the necessity of taking the step of disengagement in these areas, with all the pain it entails, and I am determined to complete this mission. I am firmly convinced and truly believe that this disengagement will strengthen Israel’s hold over territory which is essential to our existence, and will be welcomed and appreciated by those near and far, reduce animosity, break through boycotts and sieges and advance us along the path of peace with the Palestinians and our other neighbors.
But two and a half years later, we know that disengagement achieved none of the objectives
Today, I wish to address our Arab neighbors. Already in our Declaration of Independence, in the midst of a cruel war, Israel, which was born in blood, extended its hand in peace to those who fought against it and sought to destroy it by force (and I quote): “We appeal -- in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months -- to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.”
A long time has passed since then. This land and this region have known more wars, and have known all the wars between the wars, terrorism and the difficult counteractions undertaken by
Israel, with the sole purpose of defending the lives of its citizens. In this ongoing war, many among the civilian population, among the innocent, were killed. And tears met tears.
I would like you to know that we did not seek to build our lives in this homeland on your ruins. Many years ago, Ze'ev Jabotinsky wrote in a poem his vision for partnership and peace among the peoples of this land (and I quote): “There he will be saturated with plenty and joy, the son of the Arab, the son of
Nazareth, and my son.”
We were attacked and stood firm, with our backs to the sea. Many fell in the battle, and many lost their homes and fields and orchards, and became refugees. This is the way of war. However, war is not inevitable and predestined. Even today, we regret the loss of innocent lives in your midst. Our way is not one of intentional killing.
Under the Disengagement Deal, Sharon received an express promise from the
Sharon would have been shocked to learn that, this past Monday, Condoleezza Rice came to Jerusalem to urge Israel to start negotiating final status issues, without insisting on either Phase I or Phase II of the Roadmap as necessary preconditions to such negotiations, and cited Sharon’s “Herzliya speech” to support the disavowal of that deal.