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A Conversation with Uzi Dayan [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service, Inc.]

Speaker: Uzi Dayan, President, Zionist Council in Israel; former national security adviser to Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak
Presider: Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Editor in chief, U.S. News and World Report
November 1, 2005
Council on Foreign Relations

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Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY

 

MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN: Good morning. My name is Mort Zuckerman, and I'm privileged to preside at this particular conversation with Uzi Dayan -- Major General Uzi Dayan -- quote, unquote "retired."

It has always been stunning to me in the travels that I have made in the political echelons of the world to find that in almost every country, the best leadership came out of the military, in part there is an inherent pragmatism that is required in the military -- either the division or the battalions at the right time or you lose. So there is a certain practicality and pragmatism that gets built into your thinking. But many of them are trained and educated in a much broader sense in military matters and really prove to be outstanding leaders in their countries. And this is particularly true of Israel, where the leadership of Israel has consistently come out of the people with outstanding military backgrounds. And that is certainly true of our guest today, who had an outstanding military record, became the head of the Central Command, the deputy chief of staff and the national security advisor to two prime ministers -- Ehud Barak and Sharon.

And so I'm going to start by asking him to comment on the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and how this ties into potential future progress of a similar character, by which I mean, essentially, unilateral Israeli initiatives.

UZI DAYAN: Thank you, Mort. Thank you everybody for having me here.

Let's maybe start with a (really ?) personal point of view. I -- (inaudible) -- very much -- or supported very much -- the disengagement from Gaza, because I think it was a step to the right direction. And I think that Israel should continue toward this direction. And the key word here is demography.

By the year 2001 and 2002, as you mentioned, I was the national security advisor of Prime Minister Sharon. I remember having -- working with him in Jerusalem. It was started by him, addressing to me. He said, Uzi -- that's my name -- and in fact, I heard that you are very much involved and interested in demography? Can you tell me what demography has to do with national security?

I said, what -- (inaudible) -- are we doing here in Middle East. We are building a Jewish democratic state, isn't it? He said, yes. I said, in order to be a Jewish democratic state in the Middle East you have to obtain Jewish solid majority? And then here we were to make up our mind where we are going, because I said, right now -- it was at the beginning of 2002 -- there were about 10.5 million people living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. By the year 2020, I went on, we will be only -- almost 50 million people and only 45 percent of them are going to be Jewish.

So the way to maintain Jewish solid majority in a moral and legal way -- if not -- it's not Jewish; it's not demography either. We have to make up our mind. And I remember, I said, how do you make this calculation? Why don't you account for -- (inaudible) -- 60 million Egyptians? I said, while you are talking, Prime Minister, there are about 71 million Egyptians already. And the reason that I don't count them is because they don't fit my demography. There is a border line between us and Egypt. And he said, oh, well, you're not only going to build this demography, but this demography -- (inaudible) -- borders as well. And then I said, yes. And -- (inaudible) -- time it was impossible to convince Ariel Sharon to disengage from the Palestinians, particularly about our borders, even if we don't have a partner.

So I think that the disengagement from Gaza was a significant change in the Israeli policy and a huge step to the right direction. From now on, this is Prime Minister Sharon's big achievement. Most Israelis -- (inaudible) -- a point of no return that most Israelis understand that in order to build a Jewish democratic state, we have to disengage from the Palestinians with a territorial compromise. And I don't think that this (process is on its way ?).

ZUCKERMAN: When you say this process is on its way, where does it go next, according to your own plans and thoughts? You are the author, essentially, of this plan called the Tafnit plan. Explain how the Gaza disengagement, in a sense, reinforces and is a step in the direction of what you're talking about.

DAYAN: I was very much worried that this would be one step and now -- so what happens now is the two main Israelis policy or strategy collapse. One was called the Greater Israel -- no greater Israel anymore by leaving the Gaza Strip. And the second one was Land for Peace. The Gaza disengagement -- it's not land for peace. It's actually leaving some of the territories in order to assure that we are going to be a Jewish democratic state.

So we have to come up with a new strategy, with a new paradigm. And I believe very much that they initiated -- not to say unilateral, but if we don't allow the choice even unilateral, disengagement is good for Israel. It's good for the stability of the Middle East. And what I am suggesting here, it's a plan that in the coming three years we will prepare another redeployment. We'll continue and complete the security fence in order to be effective on fighting terrorism, because if you don't fight terrorism effectively, you leave the key to any progress in the hands of some terror organization who can derail it once they wan and to open it to a final settlement negotiation in the same time. Now, if it doesn't work -- and I think that there is a only slim chance that it will work -- we'll continue to fight terrorism. We'll prepare our redeployment. And we will -- going to redeploy -- even if there is no agreement -- along a new line in the West Bank, which gives better security for Israel, which assure that Israel continues to be a Jewish democratic state. And will create at the same time a kind of coexistence -- I didn't say a peace agreement -- but coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians, which is the best or the next phase in order to build one day, hopefully, a peacful relations.

ZUCKERMAN: So what you're saying is that it's a de facto settlement -- interim settlement -- rather than a de jure interim settlement. It will be a de facto settlement in the sense that Israel will do it substantially unilaterally? And you say that the security fence will prevent the possibility that terrorist organizations can, in a sense, blow up all prospects for dialogue and progress because they will be, to some extent precluded from -- the suicide bombers, anyhow.

But there is another form terrorism to which Israel will be more vulnerable. And that is curved fire -- mortar fire, rocket fire or what have you. How you sort of control that if that is also potentially dangerous, when you have a much closer line, presumably in any interim state on the West Bank, much closer access through curved fire into Israeli cities?

DAYAN: (Inaudible) -- a very important a point here. I didn't say that terrorism would vanish into the thin air. I -- we will continue to demand the Palestinians to rule their party to fight terrorism effectively and to impose the rule of law. But I don't think -- I don't believe that they are going to really deliver it. And I was here. The previous was in January this year, just after Mahmoud Abbas was elected as president of the Palestinian Authority.

And I was asked the same question here, and I remember saying that Mahmoud Abbas is not Yasser Arafat. He is not a terrorist, but he will -- I don't think that he will deliver fighting terrorism effectively.

So we have to do it. And the way to do it is to deploy -- to lean on a security fence, which is very effective. There is one around Gaza. In the last five years not even one terror (wolf ?) manage managed to infiltrate through this fence.

Or in the other end, if there will be Kasam rockets, et cetera, we'll have to act actually, the same way that we had to act if there will be Katyusha rockets launched from Lebanon.

I think that redeploying -- giving another 40 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, which is very painful from the Israelis point of view, evacuating almost 21,000 more Israelis -- I think that this is a better map for Israel. Israel is stronger without Nabus than Israel with Nabus in the same way that Israel is stronger without Gaza.

It doesn't mean that we don't have enemies, but every -- you know, the suicide bombers are actually made more than 50 percent of the Israelis casualties. And it's almost 70 percent by now. And Kasam rockets are a problem, but so far only six people were killed by Kasam rockets. And if this threat will be imposed on us, we'll have to react, including entering those areas. But I believe that by dividing the area to the Palestinian Authority area and the Israelis area, which is under Israeli control, we actually have a much better arrangement, not only from the security point of view, not only to ensure Israel being a Jewish democratic state, because this line is also a line of -- a demographic line, but also a better line to try and -- based on this coexistence, living in (affront ?) to the Palestinians to operate and to live not under Israeli occupation. I think it's better for everybody. I'm doing it. You know, I'm very Israeli. You can't tell it by my accent, but take my word for it. (Laughter.)

ZUCKERMAN: How many Palestinians would you have if you -- living on the Israeli -- in the -- within the Israeli-controlled portion of the West Bank? And how many Palestinians would be in the Palestinian- controlled portion in the West Bank under your plan?

DAYAN: According to my plan, after three years less than 3 percent of the Palestinians will be living in area which is under Israeli control. And this is about 60,000 people. Actually, two thirds of them are in one place and also Jerusalem. And I think that we'll be able to make a special arrangement that they won't be really under Israeli control.

So we can go down to 1 percent of the Palestinian population, which is about 90,000 people.

ZUCKERMAN: And do you anticipate that at some point, Israel might annex some of this land legally?

DAYAN: Well, in order to sell this plan to the Israelis, many Israelis want very much to annex the area. Some Israelis will be fully against it. I don't want to annex this area. I think that annexing this area, will just open a Pandora Box. And if we are going to win our election with the outer world. And in the same time, I think that -- let's the situation -- the time -- (inaudible) -- passing working here. And I don't want to close the door on somewhere in the future to a final settlement, to a full agreement. So I don't want to annex the rest of the area.

ZUCKERMAN: The security fence ostensibly provides security, particularly from suicide bombers. How many Israelis would be living east of the security fence, between the outer most border of this area that you say will remain under Israeli control? And won't they --

DAYAN: Zero. Zero. The whole plan is to base your line on the security fence. And actually to other a small blocks -- settlement blocks -- (inaudible) -- and other ones south 2443. And the reason to evacuate 32 settlements with 21,000 people is in order to really make a territorial compromise here and divide the area between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

So really, I don't think -- you say, how many Israelis will leave -- even if some Israeli were left behind this fence, I don't think they are going to live alone.

ZUCKERMAN: Now, the security fence is located in an area that is to the west of the demarcation line, as I understand it.

DAYAN: The '67 line.

ZUCKERMAN: No, no, no, not the '67 line.

DAYAN: Oh, okay.

ZUCKERMAN: It is to the east of the '67 line, is that right? And then there's a further extension.

DAYAN: Right.

ZUCKERMAN: And you're saying, in that area outside the security fence, but to where your defensive border is, there will be no Israelis living there? Is that right?

DAYAN: That's right. But the line -- my line on the west side is actually the security fence.

ZUCKERMAN: So where do you think this puts Israel vis-a-vis the United States on a program like this?

DAYAN: The same way that it put Israel vis-a-vis the United States in suggesting this pullout from Gaza -- disengagement from Gaza. I think that what I'm suggesting here is actually kind of an extended road map. It goes -- it's another step to where two states or two peoples. It doesn't (validate ?) the road map, but it makes sure that this road map doesn't hit a dead end if nothing happen.

And I think very much -- I also presented it this weekend and yesterday in Washington. And everybody now is very much committed to the bilateral approach, which means, let's negotiate and try to find an arrangement and so on. But everybody understands that if it doesn't work -- and I don't think it's going to work -- we need this plan as a kind of unavoidable plan.

ZUCKERMAN: So what do you think will be the reaction of the Arab states to this?

DAYAN: It depends which Arab states.

ZUCKERMAN: Egypt, Jordan?

DAYAN: The representative of the Egyptian embassy was yesterday in the meeting in Saban Center in Washington.

DAYAN: Depends which Arab states.

ZUCKERMAN: Egypt and Jordan.

DAYAN: The representative of the Egyptian embassy was yesterday in a meeting in Saban Center in Washington, and he said -- you know, his point was, why do you oppose swap along this line? And I said, to the best of my memory, we are having a peace agreement with Egypt, and they tried very hard to make some tiny swaps here and there, and Egypt didn't want to talk about it.

I think that Egypt was going to back it, to support it in the same way that Egypt supported a Gaza disengagement. It's not -- not everything is good for Egypt in Gaza disengagement. There is another responsibility on the new Egyptian-Palestinian border line. By the way, I think it was a mistake from Israel to leave this border and leave it to the Egyptian-Palestinian responsibility, and I don't want it to happen on the West Bank. So Jordan -- for Jordan and for Egypt, it's a step forward.

And everybody prefer, you know, a full agreement. I prefer a full agreement. I think that agreeing about something, it's much better than taking unilateral or, what I call it, initiated steps. But if you don't have a partner for that, and time pass, and you are becoming, from the Israeli point of view, a binational state, and terrorism continue, so finally you have to do something. And what I propose, I think it's for the benefit of everybody if there is no full peace agreement. More than that, I think that taking this initiative will create a situation of coexistence which will be a much better situation that one day we'll be able to achieve a peace agreement.

ZUCKERMAN: Well, is it possible for that Palestinian area to be economically self-sufficient in any way? I mean, the Gaza certainly is not one that is. There is virtually no economic development in Gaza, short of whatever funding is going to come internationally, and that's going to wind down at some point. Is this area that you're talking about in the West Bank viable economically in any way?

DAYAN: This is a serious point, but I think it's -- we should talk about it or should take care of it in a kind of a second or third phase because I'm not changing anything in the current situation. It's not that today the Palestinian economics are doing better. What I'm doing is leaving enough room to the Palestinians to work and to start to organize their economy, their organizations, rule of law, et cetera. I think that the Palestinians will need help.

I'm not -- I'm not talking about separation. I mean, a Palestinian will be able to work in Israel, which is the main issue from the Palestinian point of view. And I think that the better Palestinian economy, it's a joint interest also for Israel. But we were not the one -- we have enough issue -- (chuckles) -- enough problems of our own, and we are not going to be the one that will build the Palestinian economy. What we can do is to provide the arrangements and the initial conditions to it, and making a territorial compromise, leaving enough room to the Palestinians, put a line which would be also an economic line between us and the Palestinians. I think that is the best that we can do, and open, not close, the Israeli, let's say, working market to the -- labor market to the Palestinians.

ZUCKERMAN: Let me just ask one more question before turning it over to the audience. Do you foresee at any reasonable time that there will be a Palestinian leadership that can effectively negotiate and effectively respond to the terrorist organizations within the Palestinian community? I mean, this is not Abu Mazen, obviously, and it never was Arafat. I mean, Abu Mazen may be Arafat not just in a suit, but Arafat in an empty suit. He has not the capacity, on some levels, to do much. Is there somebody emerging, a generation emerging that at some point will provide a better framework for the possibility of a real dialogue, or is that still a forlorn hope, in your mind?

DAYAN: One, I don't know. Two, I doubt it. And three, something that the Palestinians should think very thoroughly about it.

Arafat made a very important contribution by leaving the arena. I mean, he said, you know, the French said that -- (phrase in French) -- "It's never too late to do the right thing." (Laughter.)

And now there is Abu Mazen. Let's wish him success. So far, it's almost one year, and I don't see that he (is a ?) leader. And the Israelis are kind of sick and tired of -- you know, whether he came but he doesn't want, or maybe he wants but he can't, et cetera -- we are sick and tired of. The bottom line is more and more funerals.

I think that the best contribution that we can make -- because we are not going to tell the Palestinian people who is going to lead them. The best contribution that we can do is to make this territorial compromise, leaving enough room to the Palestinians to start build a future state, and including it will enable, I hope, to young generation to emerge and making this historical compromise with Israel.

ZUCKERMAN: Let me just, just to help everybody here: In terms of the proportion of the West Bank from the Jordan River to the, shall we say, the 1967 armistice lines, what percentage of that would remain under Israeli control and what percentage, roughly, would you extend over to Palestinian control?

DAYAN: Thirty percent would remain Israeli, 70 percent become Palestinian, which is another 40 percent more or less from what they got now. And I'm talking not about A-B-C area that's set up under Israeli controlled area, and the Palestinian area, and this or that percentage, and the 30 percent under Israeli-controlled area, a part of it think will remain Israeli forever. I don't think that Israel is going to evacuate another -- more than 200,000 people. I don't think it's realistic. I don't think it's just, and I don't think it's realistic.

And part of the area is, to be sincere, to be honest about, it's an area that can be used in a future negotiation and can be given to the Palestinians. So I think that this move will ensure us to remain Jewish democratic country, will give better security, and it's a step toward, I hope, an Israeli-Palestinian full or partial agreement.

ZUCKERMAN: Okay. Well, let's open the session to questions. Let me just remind you that your questions and answers will be on the record. If you happen to have a cell phone and you have the technical capacity to turn it off, we would appreciate it if you would do that. And for those of you who wish to ask questions, I will try and recognize you. Please stand and state your name and affiliation and then ask the question.

Questions from the audience. Yes?

QUESTIONER: Good morning. (Name and affiliation off mike.)

Mr. Dayan, can you tell us a little bit about the Tafnit? I read and heard some material about the Tafnit, and I know that the security issues are not the taglines of this new movement that you've put together. Can you tell us what the basic principles you believe in in Tafnit?

DAYAN: Let's take it one by one.

ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

DAYAN: Okay. Thank you. Actually, this plan is one of --

ZUCKERMAN: This is the Tafnit plan, okay? This is the plan that is led by Uzi in Israel, and it is a plan that essentially builds on the idea of the Gaza disengagement. It's unilateral -- it should be at your seats; every one of you should have it. And that's the plan that he has asked about.

DAYAN: Tafnit, it's a new political movement that we formed about four months ago with Rabbi Yehuda Gilad. He is a part of it, and other people who are members of this new movement. The three main messages and the new agenda that we propose is, one, disengaging from the Palestinian to a Jewish democratic state; two, changing the priorities in Israel, making education and job creation not less important than security; and three is fighting corruption in Israel, corruption and violence -- or, I think, it's not less dangerous than terrorism.

ZUCKERMAN: Now, does this mean that you are going to present yourself as a political party in the next election?

DAYAN: Yeah. (Laughter.)

ZUCKERMAN: Harold. Harold Tanner.

QUESTIONER: Excuse me. I'm Harold Tanner, Tanner and Company.

What kind of initial support do you see? Have you done polling, testing, focus groups? Where do you stand with the Israeli people on your plan?

DAYAN: I didn't make any poll about it because I think it's -- now I'll tell you a story. (Chuckles.) By the talks, the time of Camp David, about one year before Camp David, I had a conversation with Prime Minister Barak, and I told him that I think he is making a mistake by going to a kind of take-it-or-leave-it, everything-or-nothing agreement; negotiation and agreement, and I said that I don't think it is going to close the gaps. And I asked him whether he is certain this is sure to close the gaps, and he said, well, I don't know. I said, and if you are not going to succeed in it, what will happen? He said, we'll expose the real face of Arafat, and then we'll have to insist on our -- he called it our core values. I said, look, Prime Minister Barak, there is a bug in your plan. I said, don't expect the guinea pigs in your laboratory to cheer you and to praise you if your experiment succeeds and the whole lab goes in flames.

And this is what happened, because I said at least we have to prepare a safety net, kind of an exit if it doesn't work. And this exit was the first time that they brought up the idea of initiated disengagement. I didn't call it unilateral, didn't call it separation. Initiated disengagement. And he was kind of afraid not to work on two different channels here, because once you really prepare the initiated disengagement, people will say, okay, he's not really serious about the negotiation.

And after Camp David, I said, look, this is the right time to do it. Let's do what is good for Israel, what's good for the Middle East, because we don't have a partner for a full agreement. And he didn't do it. So what I'm doing now, it's a kind of making sure that we'll continue this initiative of Gaza and preparing this plan, which is much more difficult to implement in the Gaza Strip, but based on the success of the implementation in Gaza, we can do it. And this is what I'm offering to the Israeli people, first of all, by saying we have to disengage from the Palestinians, but we have to be very careful not to disengage from the Israelis, which means to tear the Israeli society apart, because what I said is very controversial in Israel.

And the only way is to make sure that in this coming election in Israel this will be one of the three issues of this campaign, this election campaign. Not just saying shalom -- (phrase in Hebrew) -- you know, peace and security, et cetera. Make sure that people understand where we are going. This for the Israelis. And I'm saying it here, in Washington. We can continue to try, we can continue to hope, to wish and to (ply ?) our wishful thinking; but make sure that we'll prepare it in a better way than the Gaza disengagement was prepared, and we're ready to operate this exit, or this safety net, in the coming year(s ?).

So I think that this plan is unavoidable, and this is the way I present it to the Israelis. And there are different approach(es) how to solve, how to continue from this point, but every approach, if it doesn't work, the first -- the first fallback position of every approach is initiated or even unilateral disengagement. And this is why I think it's important, and this is why I think that, finally, it will work.

ZUCKERMAN: Bob Lifton.

QUESTIONER: Bob Lifton. Uzi, I'd like to just change the subject a little bit. When you were here last time, you made what I thought was a startling statement about the message that Israelis had conveyed to our government about Iran and Iran's nuclear capability. And of course, since that time, we've seen the new prime minister of Iran get elected and the statements he's made. Would you comment on that position that you had talked about before, and to what extent you think it's realistic, the kinds of statements that have been made here and elsewhere that Israelis would respond, given the issues that have been raised about the capability of responding?

DAYAN: Thank you, Bob. I'll be pretty blunt about it. I think that there is a very problematic threat developing, and I think that the way that we handle it, Washington and Jerusalem and other places, it's by rhetorical policy and not a real response. And this problem is developing to be a binary problem, which we can win it, or we can lose it. There is no way to "manage" the crisis.

Now, personally, I really hate domino theories, but here we have -- we have a process that we can't overlook. If Iran will possess nuclear operational capability, including ballistic missiles, in 10 to 15 years in another dozen of countries, like Egypt, even the new democratic Iraq, will try to be small nuclear powers. And getting into this club, I don't know -- 25 countries? -- this is unstable by definition.

I was a student of Professor Johnny Aumann, who won the Nobel Prize now in Game Theory. And I learned Game Theory with Johnny Aumann and Schelling in Jerusalem in the Hebrew University and in Stanford, as well. This is unstable by definition. And this pose a real threat on all the Western world.

So we have to do something. And I think that we have -- the goal should be to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear -- operational nuclear capability. Every word is important here. And I think we can do it. We can do it by imposed sanctions and then even use military force, if needed, and it might be needed. I know that.

So I think that it's time to live the -- I think that the rhetorical policy exhausted itself; now the only way is to solve this binary problem by using sanctions and preparing even to use military force in order to prevent Iran from achieving operational nuclear capability.

The first move should be to turn the screw on Syria, make Iran leave Lebanon and push Iran from the Middle East, and then to impose sanctions. And I think that Iran will be much more receptive to such pressure than we think.

ZUCKERMAN: Now, when you say use military force and you say "we," who do you mean by "we"?

DAYAN: We. You and me.

(Laughter.)

ZUCKERMAN: I'm happy to speak on behalf of the United States. We'll get back to you.

(Laughter.)

DAYAN: I mean it. I think that if there is no other way, Israel should take part of it. You know, we prefer that, you know, other countries will do the job. I think we should form an international front about it. We should be very careful. What I'm saying here is to prepare this -- even military operational interference. And I think that there is no way, if we want to make sure -- and you heard what Ahmadinejad just said -- and if we want to make a safer world to our children, is not less important than fighting the terrorism.

ZUCKERMAN: There was a question over there? No. Question over there.

QUESTIONER: Daniel Mintz from Olympus Capital Asia.

Recognizing your pessimism about what the Palestinians will do to bring themselves to a point of a peaceful solution with Israel, what practical things could the international community do to make that a higher probability?

DAYAN: First of all, to support my plan. No, I mean it. I think that basically it's a bilateral issue -- the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. I don't think that somebody else should be sitting in the driver's seat.

I think that the international community should set up the best conditions to Israel and to the Palestinians to try to solve this conflict in a bilateral way. And if it doesn't work, to support this initiative or even unilateral approach.

And in the same time, I think that the national community should play a very important role in what was asked about the economical situation in the Palestinian Authority, because I think that by the time the Palestinian Authority that will turn to be a Palestinian state should need some help, at least to begin with, because, even if we open the Palestinian state to Egypt or to Jordan, this is not going to solve the Palestinian economical problem. And I think to provide a better economy is very important for the future. We won't be able to have two states or two peoples with one of them -- Israel is a kind of a high-tech country -- and another one is a third-world country.

So looking for now, let's say 20 years from now, we'll have to support the Palestinians -- to help the Palestinians to build their economy, a viable economy, et cetera.

ZUCKERMAN: You know, Gaza was supposed to be somehow rather a role model for what might happen in the future, so to speak. The world is now saying let's see how the Palestinians perform in Gaza. And you talk about the economy. I mean, I happen to be involved in the attempt to convey greenhouses.

DAYAN: The greenhouses -- yes.

ZUCKERMAN: And the Palestinians have promised they would provide security. They did not. And in the first three days when there was no security, 90 percent of the packing houses were put out of business and made dysfunctional, and probably 60 percent of the greenhouses. Now they're in the process of rebuilding them. But that was an example of a functioning entity, and yet it was taken apart.

What makes you think that you can improve the economy and make it at least self-sufficient, because it doesn't seem to me possible to imagine that the international community is going to provide unending support for the Palestinians, be it in Gaza or in the West Bank.

DAYAN: You know, Mort, let's try to reverse or change roles here. You are so much involved with it, what are your assessment for it?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I can tell you what the motivation was of the people who got involved with it. Everybody felt this was the one --

DAYAN: I'm not asking what the motivation. I'm asking about what is your assessment.

ZUCKERMAN: Well, when -- it just seemed to me that you --

DAYAN: What your conclusion is?

ZUCKERMAN: The conclusion is at this point you have a state bordering on anarchy in Gaza, and that is there are many different militias; there's no single source of law and order. There's no single source of governmental authority. Hamas has emerged more powerfully there.

That is not a happy example for what might happen in 70 percent or 60 percent of the West Bank, if that gets turned over to the Palestinians.

That's all I'm asking.

DAYAN: (Inaudible.)

ZUCKERMAN: I'm going to ask two questions.

That's a very Israeli approach, by the way. (Laughter.)

DAYAN: (Chuckles.) Israelis think that it's a Jewish approach. (Laughter.)

I'm no optimist about it, and this is -- try to think it from the -- what is the Israeli and the Palestinian perception of having a peace?

You know, in Hebrew peace -- shalom -- it's a very noble word. Peace -- shalom, it's shalem -- it's perfect; it's almost everything. And in Israel, when you say, peace -- shalom -- you mean security, personal security, national security, all the other security, and freedom of movement. Israelis like very much to go everywhere, and I don't know -- going to Oman, crossing the border to Syria or visiting Palmyra, returning to Israel, nobody throws stones on you; nobody calls you a bloody Jew. This is shalom. This is peace.

For the Palestinians, most of the Palestinian people do want peace and they call it salaam. But salaam for the Palestinians, it's a slightly different perception. One is don't rule us. Get out of our sight. Leave us alone. Give us our freedom, our self definition, et cetera. And the second one is a much better quality of life. And when they say it, they mean like in Israel, because I think that 98 percent of the Palestinians were born under Israeli occupation. So this is what it relates to.

And I believe that we have -- first of all, a better economy will never be solved the issue -- the conflict, if the first perception -- leave us alone; don't rule us -- won't be fulfilled.

So what I am suggesting here is to go to work this first initiative and to give the Palestinians enough room. It might take time, but I think that finally the majority of the people, even the Palestinians, will build their economy. It has to go through rule of law and much more responsibility, and fighting terrorism. You know why? Because there are two different roles here. We relate to it as one role, but actually there are two aspects here.

One is the Palestinian struggle against what they see to be the Israeli occupation. And I think that we can contribute to it by making a territorial compromise -- not giving the Palestinians everything they want, but making a territorial compromise.

The second role -- it's an Islamic role against the Israeli existence in the Middle East. And even what I'm suggesting is not going to solve it. I'm not naive about it. But by making these two states or two peoples continue to fight terrorism effectively, building the economy, by the time we can achieve a safe -- at least coexistence -- and later on -- you knmow the short guys are always very optimistic because from our level, we see only the full -- the half full part of the cup. (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: My question was very much a long one.

ZUCKERMAN: Would you identify yourself, please?

QUESTIONER: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents.

Given the lack of proven willingness or capacity, every time Israel has withdrawn from the city, we've seen that it's turned over to Hamas or Islamic Jihad or others -- come back, re-infiltrate and establish themselves.

So what grounds is there for the optimistic part when you don't have any proven track record, and as Mort pointed out, the chaos, lawlessness in Gaza where more Palestinians are being killed by Palestinians every day and certainly more than by Israelis?

And secondly, how does Jerusalem fit into your plan? What resolution do you see for it?

DAYAN: First of all, I assure you -- (can be quite ?) -- Jerusalem, in plan we keep the status quo. We don't touch Jerusalem.

Now, 90 percent of your wish is already fulfilled, and I can turn to the other part.

Look, I'm not naive about it, and I said that fighting terrorism effectively it's very important. The basic approach of my plan is what is good for Israel, and what will -- to be very careful and to assure is the essence of our existence?

I'm not saying that there will be an eternal peace here. I'm not naive about it, but I think we can work our way by being more effective at fighting terrorism and create a new situation of a coexistence.

I -- you know, there is a saying in Israel that even by the end of the days, and then the Messiah will arrive and the lion will be lying down with the lamb, we must not be the lamb in this configuration. (Laughter.)

I agree with it. We have to be strong, but we have to use our strength in a way to try to build this coexistence. And the reason that I'm pushing forward this plan is because I really think the territorial compromise is good for Israel. It is painful. I do think that we have the right on the land of Israel. But in order to remain Jewish democratic country, we have to do it, and the way to do it, it's to go to a territorial compromise, even if we don't have a -- (word inaudible) -- and to do it in the best way to fight terrorism.

So let's say, for example, the Lebanon example. It's not exactly -- the West Bank -- Judea and Samaria is not Lebanon. I know that, and I'm not -- I don't want to demagogic about it and so. That once you create a kind of a coexistence, the Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is not less problematic than al Qaeda -- and by the way, one of the things we have to do is to make Hezbollah al Qaeda number two -- are still trying to hurt Israel and to chase Israelis and so on. But once we are not there, the people in Lebanon -- once we were in Lebanon, the people in Lebanon say well, the Hezbollah is our freedom fighters. Now, if they will try to continue to use terrorism against Israel, and they do, once they do it, if we will react very, very strongly in Lebanon, the people in Lebanon will say okay, we don't have to sit without electricity for one week because those people of Hezbollah are going to chase the Jews all the way to Jerusalem. And we can create such a balance with the Palestinians too. It's not the same situation, I know. There is much more, many friction points, et cetera. But I think that Israel should react very firmly, very strongly on every Qassam rocket today. We have to do it -- we had to do it months ago, actually, and to make a price here and to set the price and to make a kind of a balance. We are going to the right direction. It's because it's good for us. It's also good for the stability in the region and to continue to fight terrorism. And doing it together, I think, can set a new balance, which I called coexistence.

ZUCKERMAN: Question over there.

QUESTIONER: Michael Alderman, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Mr. Dayan, I'd like to ask you a question about the Iraq situation.

In the run-up to the invasion, the argument was made by advocates of it that it would alter the landscape in the whole Middle East, would have a tremendous effect on the relations of Israel -- Israelis and Palestinians, and in the wider region. Could you comment on what you see has happened as a result of what's occurred so far, and any predictions about how this might go on to affect events in the wider Middle East?

DAYAN: Is there any rules here against dragging visitors to a new trap? (Laughter.)

ZUCKERMAN: We will let you know after we hear what you say. (Laughter.)

DAYAN: Maybe I was too quick to ask you to be on-the-record meeting.

Look, first of all, the whole situation -- it's a good one for Israel. We are not the enemy of Iraq. Iraq took part, participated in all the wars against Israel from '48.

And we don't have a common border with Iraq. We don't have a joint border. We don't have conflict of interest. And the same time, Iraq was kind of a bitter enemy against Israel.

So making this change in Iraq is very good from the Israeli strategic point of view. And actually, all the main enemies of Israel are on a kind of -- on what is called the elephant trail of this war. I'm talking about Iraq, I'm talking about Iran, talking about Syria, about Libya. So I think that for Israel it's a good move.

The only -- I was here -- when was it? -- in 2001 and '02, and I said clearly it's -- Iraq is are going to be phase -- it was called (your ?) phase two. And --

ZUCKERMAN: That was Richard's phrase.

DAYAN: Yeah. I'm looking at (the wrong time in the ?) -- as long as he's smiling, it's okay. (Laughter.)

And I was in charge those time on the strategic relations between Jerusalem and Washington. And it was the first time that I could come to Washington and ask what I was always been -- would ask here: "What is your strategy?" So I said phase two is going to be Iraq. And I said, "What's going to be the trigger to this war?" And the officials that I talked to said, "What do you mean by trigger?"

I said, "This is a war that you -- you have to set up a strategic goal, and then, not less important, derived achievable missions in order that the generals' and the politicians' statement will have a common language. Well, what are we going to achieve? It's not enough to set a strategic goal. You have to derive from it achievable missions. And then you need a trigger."

And the answer that I got here was, "We don't need a trigger. The president already decided," which is a very interesting response.

I can make only one remark. Don't think that just by killing the dictatorship, democracy will emerge like a natural process. It's not, doesn't work this way. We need to set up the condition that the Iraqi people will build their own democracy. It's not something that you can force or impose.

Now I think that by now that the administration here do understand it. It will take time. And from my point of view, what the -- (inaudible) -- of America is to concentrate, is to -- it's to build this initial condition and to think in the future how to get off Iraq.

ZUCKERMAN: We have time for two more questions. One in -- back there. Sorry.

QUESTIONER: Marty Gross (sp) -

DAYAN: At least make it an easier one, please, you know. (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: Yeah, just multiple choice.

Given your demographic perspective, if your plan is successfully implemented, what would be the percentage of Jews and non-Jews on the Israeli side? And related question to that: What are you doing in that regard with respect to the problem of significant illegal immigration that still exists in Israel?

DAYAN: Okay. Thank you for these questions.

The inner demography in Israel hasn't been changed for many years. And about 19 -- one-nine -- 19 percent of the population are minorities. But this 19 percent --

ZUCKERMAN: Nineteen?

DAYAN: -- 19 -- one-nine - consists of very different groups. Three and a half percent are actually Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, and they are not Israeli citizens. We count them, but they're not Israeli citizens. They can't vote, and they can't be elected in Israel.

Another 1.6 percent are Druze. The percentage of Druze from the Druze population who are serving in the IDF are higher than the Jewish percentage of people who are serving in the military service.

A third group is Israeli Arabs who are Christians -- 2.1 percent, which -- the rate birth of the Israeli Christian Arabs are lower than the Jewish rate birth, and the educational level actually is higher on average than the Jewish. And this is the most significant, by the way, connection or --

QUESTIONER: Correlation.

DAYAN: Huh?

QUESTIONER: Correlation.

ZUCKERMAN: Correlation.

DAYAN: Correlation in the world -- the education of the mother and the number of kids in the family.

ZUCKERMAN: Right.

DAYAN: It's education of the mother, all the males who pay attention to it.

ZUCKERMAN: Right.

DAYAN: And we're left with about 11.6 - let's say 12 percent -- a minority are Israeli, Arab-Israeli who are Muslims, including Arabs and Bedouins, which is a small community.

Even if we take the 19 percent -- which I said -- look, this is not really one group -- by the year 2020, it will be 23, 23.5 percent. By the year 2050, it might exceed 30 percent.

So we have enough time -- I don't make difference between Israeli citizens. I do draw the line between Israelis and non-Israelis. But Israelis -- if it's an Israeli citizen, I don't care which is -- so Arab or Jewish or so.

But we have to keep our demography, and the way to do it -- it's better education, as I mentioned, better economy, change of priorities, and cope with the minority and come up with a policy of how to integrate this minority into the Israeli community, into the Israeli society, and this is the way that it has to be done.

Talking about immigration, we have to continue -- I think that what we have to do in Israel, it's to build a much better, more attractive state, country; that, first of all, the Israeli will stay there -- there is about 800,000 Israelis who live out of Israel -- and to take care of 300,000 Israelis who came from Russia and are not Jewish according to the Jewish aliyah. And this should be the main focus -- building a much better, a much more attractive society; integrating the minorities; and make one Jewish people and not different Jewish communities.

ZUCKERMAN: Well, we're, alas, out of time. There was one other question, but I have to apologize, because we do try and stay within the time limits.

I want to thank you for giving us a vision of your plan and a future which I think we all hope works, and that the definition of both shalom and salaam takes place. And we thank you once again for coming back here, and I thank you all for -- (interrupted by applause) --

DAYAN: Thank you, Mort.

 

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