Dr. Aaron Lerner - Apr 07, 2011
IMRA interviewed Kobi Ruderman, one of the drafters of the Israeli Peace. For a copy of the Israeli Peace Initiative click here. Interview:
Independent Media Review & Analysis
IMRA: I am Dr. Aaron from IMRA. I have some questions relating to the IPI.
Kobi Ruderman: I have an interview in five minutes so let’s make it fast.
IMRA: Is the West Bank and Gaza Strip considered today to be “demilitarized” or are there weapons systems and/or forces currently there that would have to be removed?
KR: Gaza definitely will have to be going through a major demilitarization effort. Even in the West Bank.
IMRA: What role does the IPI see for third parties in verifying the demilitarization?
KR: We see a combination of four elements: bilateral arrangements between Israelis and Palestinians, the involvement of third party forces, involvement of bodies with a supervision role and finally governance by regional security organizations.
IMRA: In the involvement of the international community in providing border security and curbing terrorist threat, would you consider an airport to be a border?
KR: Let me state something very clear. The IPI is a set of principles for a declaration in the same sense that the Arab initiative doesn’t include details we don’t put details either. We leave it to the professional negotiators. It is not our role as people from the civil society to talk about details like these.
IMRA: So the question as to whether a third party would have final say at a port is something that you will leave to negotiations.
KR: This is something that the people who are part of the IPI may have even difference of opinion on. So we did not go to the resolution at the detailed level that you are talking about. We assume that even in the Arab world there could be various interpretations of the Arab initiative and therefore we think that this is quite legitimate on our side as well.
IMRA: In the IPI reference to a maximum of 7% of the West Bank being in a land swap does this include the Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem?
IMRA: In the 7% does the IPI envision Israel retaining the Jordan Valley?
KR: Again, we leave this to the negotiators. We believe that the basis to determine the range of land swaps lies somewhere between the current situation of the Palestinian Authority of about 2% to the 6.5% - 7% offered by Olmert. That’s the range within which a compromise should be found and the exact locations and the exact lines are left to the negotiators.
IMRA: When the IPI states that Jewish holy sites and interests shall be administered by Israel at the Temple Mount is there a specific place that you had in mind?
KR: Anything that will be determined as a Jewish and Israeli interest at the Temple Mount will be governed by us.
IMRA: But you didn’t have anything particular in mind when you wrote this?
KR: Well we know that this pertains to particular locations inside the Mount and outside the Mount and we believe that everything that Israel declares as genuine historic religious and symbolic points that can be described as a Jewish interest or Israeli interest must be governed by us.
IMRA: On the top of the Mount?
KR: Not on top of the Mount
IMRA: But that’s what you wrote. It says “the Temple Mount”.
KR: Well, we think that any point on, around, between. Any point which rabbis, historians, archeologists, leaders and influential security people believe should be governed by Israeli governance or by Israeli authorities has to be under our control. We make it very clear. There is no balance in what we write about the Old City of Jerusalem. There is clear bias towards Israeli and Jewish interests and this is because you are talking to somebody whose grandfather was born in the Old City and whose father fought for the liberation of the Old City.
IMRA: So you envision Jewish prayer on the top of the Temple Mount?
KR: We will not go into the halachik debate on this matter.
IMRA: Under the IPI doe the IAF fly over the West Bank without prior approval from the Palestinians?
KR: No. When we have end of conflict with security arrangements then that is not going to happen.
IMRA: Under the IPI, what stage, if any, of an invasion of the West Bank via Jordan can Israeli forces enter the West Bank?
KR: If unrealistic events happen, every party is free to determine how it should secure and protect its own interests and if Iraqi and Iranian force start crossing the Jordanian Desert the I am sure Israel will respond far beyond what anybody expects and far earlier than anybody expects. I think that they will not even come close to the Jordan Valley.
IMRA: How does the IPI reflect UIFIL’s track record in southern Lebanon? Do you consider UNIFIL to be a success or what?
KR: It should far deeper and much stronger than the UNIFIL arrangement is now in Lebanon.
IMRA: Have the people who prepared the IPI prepared working papers analyzing the characteristics of the UNIFIL arrangements to determine what kind of differences are required to have a successful arrangement?
KR: We have a few experts on the involvement of third parties in international forces and you can look at some of our people’s record and see that they are very very knowledgeable.
IMRA: Did you folks sit down and prepare working papers reviewing the failures of UNIFIL to determine if indeed it would be possible to have an effective international arrangement? These are not debating points. This is a very serious matter.
KR: Of course. Of Course. I am sure you agree with me that the generals we have on our side are pretty knowledgeable about that.
IMRA: That’s not the question. I am not asking if when they are in the shower and shaving that they think that they have an answer to everything. I am asking if someone has put down on paper a working paper that’s been circulated and thought about and debated and seriously considered.
KR: We have Dr. Liron who is an expert on international forces. We have others on our team who are experts on the implementation and failures and analysis and as I said at the beginning the UNIFIL model is not the model. We want much more than that and believe me, we understand the failures of UNIFIL far beyond what you can imagine.
IMRA: Is there any written documentation that can be shared?
IMRA: Nothing in writing.
KR: There are independent writings of individuals but not on behalf of our group. We are not an organization, we are not an institution, not a think tank, not an amuta (association), we are nothing other than an ad hoc group that wanted to share a certain voice.
IMRA: When people were asked to sign off on this they were not presented with any body of literature or documentation beyond the text that we have available on your website?
KR: Wrong. No. They were. They have. They shared. They don’t have to be educated on these issues.
IMRA: It’s not a question of being educated. It is a matter of providing material so that the rest of us can develop an opinion on the IPI.
KR: I am sure that when you launch an Israeli peace initiative that you will bring people and share with them all the documents. I did not.
IMRA: I can tell you that Yossi Beilin and the Geneva Initiative had working papers.
KR: Well they got funding. We are very different from Yossi Beilin and the Geneva Initiative in the way we operate. We do not have funding from any European governments. This is funded – the little that there is – from our own pockets. We do not want to be seen as an organization. We are not an NGO. There is no amuta. We are not receiving funds from the Swiss government or others and therefore what we have is what we believe now and without the need to create an infrastructure or a body of knowledge. There is enough out there. What is missing is leadership, courage and determination to take our future in our own hands. Please understand that we don’t need working papers for that. People who have signed this understand deep in their heart spending many years in Israeli security and serving this country’s true interests – your undersigned included. They have a better understanding than any other academic research or working paper. I don’t care about those. All I know is that the 52 people who have signed it know exactly what they wanted to share and that’s what they said. That’s what’s out there. Don’t look beyond that. There is no political arrangement here. There is no political aspiration There is a civil responsibility to share our views.
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