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Rabin Defends Peace Policies and IDF Operation in Lebanon

August 10, 1993
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Likud has no moral authority to condemn the Labor government’s plans to trade land for peace on the Golan Heights after it gave up Sinai for a peace treaty with Egypt, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told American Jewish leaders this week.

He also said that Israel’s recent military operation in Lebanon had achieved his twin aims of showing that Israel is willing to take risks to defend its security interests and that there is nothing to be gained by terrorism against Israel.

He praised the United States for brokering a cease-fire in Lebanon and said no peace agreements can be reached without U.S. mediation.

He also stressed that the status of a united Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty is not negotiable.

Rabin made the remarks in a speech to members of the United Jewish Appeal’s Prime Minister’s Mission, a trip for top contributors who arrived here Sunday.

To be eligible for the trip, contributors had to make a minimum donation of $100,000 to UJA’s annual campaign along with an additional donation for the organization’s Operation Exodus campaign, which helps resettle immigrants in Israel.

The prime minister made similar remarks Monday in a 45-minute telephone conference call with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Despite reports that portions of American Jewry are disaffected by the Rabin government’s peace policies, his speech to UJA defending those polices was warmly received.

The peace process is complex, Rabin said, in part because of the precedent set in the peace treaty with Egypt, where “we had to return the last square inch of Egyptian soil the Egyptians demanded.”


“What we are trying now is at least not to repeat the price of peace in territories that we paid for peace with Egypt. It’s not so simple,” Rabin said, “once the precedent was established.”

“Those who couldn’t save one square inch from Sinai,” he said, referring to his Likud critics, “what moral right do they have now” to claim peace can be achieved without giving anything on the Golan Heights?

“The idea of achieving peace without giving up territory is a fallacy,” he said, angrily. “Total nonsense.”

The government is ready for compromise on the Golan Heights, he continued, but “I will not negotiate the depth of the withdrawal before I know what kind of peace we are getting in return. Will it be a peace the man on the street will call a peace?”

Rabin also defended the government’s decision to stop spending money on Jewish settlements in the administered territories and implicitly criticized the settlers there for protesting the change in policy.

He said he would like the money to be spent instead on settlements along the Lebanese border, whose residents he called “the civilian heroes in Israel.”

“They are not crying, they are not shouting, they are not demonstrating. They stand firm there, even if they have to be in shelters or security rooms for seven days,” he said.

“This is the kind of population that I, as an Israeli, am proud of,” Rabin said. “This is what used to be the good Israel, the real Israel.”

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