(Broadcast in English on Thursday night's at 10:00 PM on 97.1 FM in Jerusalem.)
I didn't plan to spend any time this evening discussing the further redeployment but I feel I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to make a short observation before turning to the main focus of this spot. If and when a deal is presented to the cabinet for its approval there is a very simple way to know if we are talking about arrangements which seriously address Israel's critical demand for Palestinian compliance - or if instead the agreement is only window dressing.
In a word, if the agreement trades land for committees the agreement is a joke. If it isn't apparent in the agreement that it is up to Israel - not Mr. Clinton nor some committee - to decide that the Palestinians are fulfilling their obligations then the agreement is a sham.
This morning "Haaretz" Diplomatic Correspondent David Makovsky published a recent version of the Clinton Administration's plan for a 12 week 3 phase West Bank withdrawal. It is chock-a-block with committees and announcements and extremely short on real measurable action.
Sure, the Palestinians are supposed to report about this and that. But to whose satisfaction?
I can see it now: the Palestinians report that they are doing everything they can to fight terror, have a fantastic program on paper to collect and dispose illegal weapons, and have explained with a straight face why they don't have to extradite any of the terrorists Israel has asked for.
The Clinton team cracks out the champagne to toast Arafat for delivering the goods and Israel finds itself once again trading land for nothing.
We need real measurable goals. Let me give a simple example. Just yesterday Col. Mohammed Dahlan, the head of Preventive Security in Gaza, told me that every family in the Autonomy has a gun. Every family. He admits that very few guns are registered but he says that they don't matter. He says that the only way to seize these guns is by searching house-to-house.
Now there are several hundred thousand households in the autonomy. Judging by what Dahlan says, there must be several hundred thousand illegal guns. So instead of declarations and committees, how about requiring the PA to come up with a hundred thousand guns ? That's a goal you can measure.
This evening Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed that the deal he makes will enjoy the support of 80% of the Israeli public. I would like to remind him that only recently a survey by Gallup (Israel) commissioned by IMRA found that 64.0% of adult Israeli Jews maintain that a second further redeployment (FRD) can be carried out only when the Palestinians have fulfilled all of the obligations under the Oslo Agreement and an additional 14.3% don't want an FRD under any circumstances. That's close to 80% of the Jewish Israeli public who won't support a deal if they understand that it fails to deliver the goods.
Reprinted from Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio of June 23, 1998