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Peace: At What price?
Knesset member Rechavam Zeíevi (Gandi) in a special interview with Beis Moshiach calls upon Lubavitcher Chassidim to wake up!
By Shai Gefen

Mr. Zeíevi, what do you think of the Washington summit?

This hasty invitation of Clinton is in order to see whether the dying ďpeaceĒ process can be revived. Clinton is desperate for some movement because his term as president is about to end, and he doesnít want to leave office without achieving something in the Middle East. He wants to get into the history books as the one who brought peace to our region.

What do you think is going on?

Itís very clear. The process is paralyzed or frozen because of Assadís refusal to accept Barakís capitulation. Ehud Barak gave everything up, starting with the withdrawal from Chermon until Chamat Geder; basically the entire Golan, except for joint use of the Kinneret. Thatís a 90% capitulation, and somebody who concedes 90% will give everything up in the end. The question is only at what price?

I donít like sudden trips to Washington like this one, and I hope it concludes with news of nothing being accomplished once again, and then things can quiet down on that front. Unfortunately we have other fronts to fight on; no less important is the Yehuda-Shomron region. Clinton will definitely push strongly on that front too.

If Clinton doesnít succeed in gaining a withdrawal from the Golan, will he rush to conclude matters in Yesha?

Clinton and Barak, arm in arm, will pursue both fronts simultaneously, hoping to accomplish something in both areas, or at least in one of them.

What do you think will happen?

I hope nothing, and that Hashem will watch over us. Perhaps the Prime Minister, who has already lost all dignity when it comes to standing up for our rights and sovereignty, will stand strong at the final moment and will refuse to agree to terms that will endanger, chív, the lives and the future of the Jewish people.

How do you explain Assadís refusal to accept the Golan Heights?

Peace with Israel will bring many Israelis to Damascus and many Syrians to Israel, something which Assad is not interested in. He doesnít want his citizens to become acquainted with democracy.

In addition, an agreement with Israel can bring down his rule over Lebanon, and for Assad Lebanon is far more important that the Golan Heights. The Golan is, after all, only a half of a percent of the size of Syria, and is important to him primarily for the Arab recognition he would gain thereby. On the other hand, Lebanon is crucial to him, because a million Syrians work there and the entire Syrian economy is tied up with the economy in Lebanon.

A peace agreement with Israel will undermine the Syrian dictatorship. You have to remember that Assadís family is part of the Elawi minority in Syria, and when his son Bashir will be president of Syria, he will find it hard to establish his rule since he isnít as strong as his father. When Assad faced down a rebellion he didnít hesitate to kill 40,000 Syrians in El Chama.

These are all good reasons Assad has for not making peace with Israel.

They kept telling us that Syria was very interested in peace. A reporter of one of the big papers went to Damascus a few months ago and brought back optimistic news.

What kind of peace? To prove my point, I would make a dangerous experiment in order show that Assad is not ready to sign any agreements. I would offer the Kinneret to Assad, and then we would see Assad demanding Afula and Chadera too. Assad, at the end of his reign, is being offered the Golan Heights without a war, and thatís great as far as he is concerned. His army is weak and their weapons are outdated, and he wouldnít stand a chance against the Israeli army. In the war of Peace in Galilee, he tried to establish his air force and lost 80 planes in one day.

Yet lately we have heard threats from the Left that if we donít come to an agreement, we will be at war with Syria. Are you afraid of war with them?

Not at all. Assad knows better than both of us that he would be beaten in war, that we would quickly win, and his government would fall apart.

I listen to speakers in the Knesset and in the media, and itís all worthless talk. He doesnít have the military might to oppose us. When Assad began building up his government, he spoke about a strategic balance with Israel, without the need of getting help from other Arab countries. However he has long since lost his power because his backer, Russia, fell and he doesnít get anything from them at all.

His weapons have not been updated in twenty years. Israel, by contrast, has the stature of a superpower in terms of the region, and Assad knows the balance of power good and well. Heís no fool. He is smart and clever like a fox. He threatens war because he hears our media. He knows what to say to us because somebody translates our papers to him and he sees and hears the Four Mothers, and the Women in Black, who talk about imminent war.

I donít like wars, even though I am a military man. I know for a fact that we are not heading for war with them, and even if we were, we would win anyway with Hashemís help.

Perhaps you are not up-to-date on his plans?

My information is up to date. I come from the highest ranks of the I.D.F. I am a member of the foreign and security ministries, as well as a member of the committee overseeing the secret and intelligence services. I have a good understanding of the balance of power, and the chances of the political situation changing to an open military confrontation. With the authority of these credentials, I repeat: Frightening us with talk of war is nonsense.

Assad claims that he wants every spot where a Syrian soldier tread, which includes the Kinneret.

The Syrians captured the Kinneret and El Chama in Ď48, which was part of what was called Palestine, but it certainly didnít belong to them. We captured it back from them after they attacked us. The entire world knows that the victor dictates the terms of peace. You must remember that the historic Golan Heights was a part of Eretz Yisroel. There is no village without remnants of a shul. Syrian rule in the Golan lasted from Ď 46 until Ď67, and we have been ruling there more years than they - 32 years.

Why shouldnít we sign a deal of land for peace?

That is one of the stupidest mottos we have. In order to gain peace with him, he has to get land from us! Anybody hearing that anywhere in the world would simply laugh at the idea.

There were headlines in the paper that quoted I.D.F. generals as saying that withdrawing from Lebanon was dangerous. They spoke very strongly against Barakís plans. What do you, a former I.D.F. general, think about what they said?

They are certainly right. A one-sided withdrawal endangers us. However, I donít like the fact that career army generals spoke to the politicians appointed over them through the media and anonymously. They are not allowed to do that.

What should they have done?

They have enough ways of expressing their opinion and using their influence on the political machine. Let them bang on the table as we did in my time. The senior military people in my time were very critical of Prime Minister Eshkol and his Defense Minister Dayan regarding going to war in Ď67. We thought that each day we delayed, gave Egypt the ability to further fortify themselves, which we would have to pay for in blood. I, as well as other generals, met with Eshkol, banged on the table and yelled, but under no circumstances did we fight through the media. If those generals are afraid, and rightly so, of withdrawing our forces from Lebanon, there are enough ways of expressing their position and fighting for it.

When I was a general I had serious disagreements with Defense Minister Dayan, but when he decided something, I carried it out 100%. The generals must go and talk clearly and firmly with the Prime Minister, who theoretically is our Defense Minister but does not fulfill that task. I say these things to Barak even though he gets angry with me for doing so.

How can Barak get out of the pitfall he got himself into by setting a date for leaving Lebanon?

Barak is an expert at getting himself into every possible hole. When he was in the army he was able to avoid tainting himself with broken promises, but when he got into politics he announced so many promises that he cannot even begin to keep them all. He promised to increase employment and to bring down the unemployment rate, yet the unemployment rate rose. He promised to fix the situation in the hospitals, but things only got worse. He gives promises and dates for anything and everything, but has achieved nothing.

His government is not functional, and even the party he built is split, besides for his alliance with Dovid Levy. In his party there are at least four people who see themselves as candidates for Prime Minister, who are putting together their own camps. They are waiting for a political ambush when Barak will break, and then they will forge ahead. Thereís nothing to this man. The one person who he supposedly clicked with is Clinton, who called Barak a toy. It wasnít me in the opposition who called him a toy, but the president of the United States!

Do you think Barak will survive politically?

There is no reason for him to remain, since he hasnít proved his political maturity. A decorated war hero does not necessarily make a good politician. He fell into power with a stunning majority, not because of his successes, but simply because his predecessor, Netanyahu, lost.

A mortar exploded near Moshav Margalit on the northern border. Is that an indication of what will happen after the withdrawal from Lebanon?

If we donít respond immediately, our capacity for deterrence is worthless. The Grapes of Wrath campaign was a campaign that was headed in the right direction, but the Prime Minister at the time came to an understanding that the terrorists would not operate within civilian villages nor would they attack civilian villages. This means that the only fair game is soldiers. In other words, the Israeli government signed an agreement according to which it permissible to kill an Israeli soldier and a member of the Lebanese Christian Militia. Not only that, but the Hizballah attacks civilians in opposition to all those agreements the government signed.

Our reaction ought to consist of hundreds of bombs in Nabatiya and Tyre the very same day, in order to show them that the rules of the game are not one-sided. We have to call an end to this. Today itís in Moshav Margalit, and tomorrow itís the dining room in Misgav Am. You canít fool around with these things. If you donít react to the first shelling, our talk about deterrence and ďour long armĒ are pointless. We are facing a corrupt enemy with a high level of patience.

What do you think will happen after the withdrawal from Lebanon, which is being planned over the next two months?

In my opinion, the Hizballah will snipe at us till the security fence, and if it can, it will also cross the fence. They proclaimed on more than one occasion that their goal is Palestine and holy Jerusalem. Today they are fighting us there because we are there. Tomorrow, if we withdraw they will be able to send katyushas to Chaifa and Acco. When we withdraw from Lebanon we will be faced with an entirely new picture, one that is new and extremely dangerous.

What about Yehuda-Shomron? The situation there is no less serious than the northern border.

Arafatís strategy is obvious. Itís to get from the Jews whatever he can through peace, and only then to resume the pressure and armed conflict until he liberates all of Palestine. The Jews think that if they give him a percentage here and a percentage there, that will be all. But it doesnít work that way. He wants a Palestinian state by the end of the year. He wants unbroken territory, not isolated areas on a map scattered about. He already has a huge army. He is ready to announce a Palestinian state, and then eighty or a hundred countries will officially recognize it and thatís when the big battle will begin.

What can be done?

We must stop the runaway train. You just canít keep giving more percentages away to Arafat without seeing an end in sight. I had a serious argument with the army over their giving away the only road leading to the Naguhot settlement to the Palestinians. The military men explained to me that that they had to hand over to Arafat those dunams as they promised, and so they had to give him the road.

We have cause for concern from the situation as it unfolds. Arafat will pressure us in order to receive more and more, and each time he does he will come back and combine diplomacy with terror. He gives Hamas the green light for their terrorist activities, and Hamas has shown what they can do with Arafatís approval with the bombs on the buses in Yerushalayim.

Why donít we hear public opinion about the withdrawals from Yesha?

This week I told my fellow party members that I had a feeling that the public had stopped being moved by withdrawals from Yehuda and Shomron. It is most alarming. Once it was a subject which enflamed people. The public doesnít understand that the heart of the land of our fathers is Yehuda and Shomron. They recently gave 6.1% away with no reaction. The media is held captive wherever that may be. There is no nationalist bloc. The Likud stopped leading the nationalist bloc. The Mafdal is held captive within the coalition. We are the last remaining people to stand strong, and they are silencing us, too. Do you hear me on the radio or in other forms of the media? Do they let me speak?

The situation within Israel will not be simple with the Israeli Arabs beginning to rebel. Itís frightening.

Israeli Arabs are going through a Palestinization process. There was a survey recently among Israeli Arabs that indicates this. Take for example what happened at the universities of Haifa and Jerusalem. The Arab students held three days of illegal demonstrations, waving the Palestinian flag. The prevailing slogan was, ďWe will redeem you Palestine with blood and fire,Ē and they sang ďBiladi, biladi.Ē This all took place at Jewish universities, which were built with money donated by Jews. They run our universities, with the prevailing language at the university of Haifa being Arabic. They come to the university from throughout the Galil.

We are not reading the signs on the wall and I hope we regain our sanity in time, for if not, we will be the minority. They will conquer the country through democratic and demographic means. I know an Arab who has 6 wives and 60 children. His neighbor has 9 wives and 67 children. The children receive a stipend from the Bituach Leíumi from the taxes we pay.

We are in the midst of a very painful process, but the media is not bringing this information to the public. It doesnít want to deal with it. Does the man on the street today know what the town of Rahat looks like? Does the public know whatís really going on, and what happened at the university at Haifa, when the Arabs ran the show for three days and rebelled, led by a 22-year-old girl?

So what should we do with the Israeli Arabs?

If they donít fulfill their civic obligations: if they donít serve in the army, they donít pay taxes (only 7% of them pay taxes), they donít build according to the laws of planning and building ó then they become residents and not citizens. They do not have the right to vote or be voted for.

Can those loyal to Eretz Yisroel do anything about all this?

We must read the Rebbeís sichos continuously. Each day I am impressed with the Rebbe all over again. Itís unbelievable how he saw things precisely as they are first unfolding now. We have all the answers from the Rebbe and we just have to read the edited and unedited sichos to know what to do. Itís not coincidental that in every paper Moledet puts out, I quote the Rebbe. Why should we break our teeth when the Rebbe has been so clear? From the moment I read what the Rebbe had to say for the first time, my eyes were opened. My superiors and leaders speaking about Eretz Yisroel were never as clear as he.

How do you explain the great weakness of the Jewish nation. Was it this way in your time?

On the contrary, in our time Golda Meir said there was no such thing as a Palestinian people. We were raised valuing the land as our land. Today they took our ancestorís land and turned it into A.B.C. with no historic names and with no districts. Our generation is to blame for not educating the next generation as it should have. We did not succeed in instilling the values with which we were educated.

How did this happen?

Our media is monopolized by a group that influences the public with its subjective opinion. Our nation is strongly nationalist with a healthy sense of whatís what, despite the mediaís brainwashing. The nation instinctively understands the need for survival. You should speak with the simple man on the street and tell him the truth and see how he reacts. The media is drumming its positions over the years and naturally it exerts a tremendous influence.

Five Women in Black are photographed and interviewed non-stop. We can bring a thousand people and theyíll ignore it. This has been the state of affairs for decades. They donít allow my voice to be heard in their media. How may times in the fifteenth Knesset did they interview Achmad Tivi and how many times did they interview Rechavam Zeíevi? If they gave me 1/20 of the space and time I would be satisfied.

Yet we canít give up. I turn to the Lubavitcher Chassidim who are the ones who understand the terrible significance of what is happening here, and ask that they get up and work for the sake of shleimus haíAretz. We who know the Rebbeís sichos and are cognizant of the Rebbeís vision, must pull out all the stops in order to try and stem the tide and halt these dangerous proceedings, promulgated by Barak and his government.

It hurts me when Chassidei and Rabbanei Chabad donít speak up enough. I wrote a letter about this to Rabbanei Chabad a few months ago. I painfully asked: Is this how the Rebbe educated us? The Rebbe cried when he heard that they were tearing apart Eretz Yisroel. We heard the Rebbe scream about the abandonment of Eretz Yisroel. Lubavitcher Chassidim who are loyal to the Rebbe must join the efforts for the sake of shleimus haíAretz and the future of our people.



Thatís a 90% capitulation, and somebody who concedes 90% will give everything up in the end. The question is only at what price?





I donít like wars, even though I am a military man. I know for a fact that we are not heading for war with them, and even if we were, we would win anyway with Hashemís help.





I turn to the Lubavitcher Chassidim and ask that they get up and work for the sake of shleimus haíAretz.



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