Jerusalem Post, April 29, 2001


By Janine Zacharia

WASHINGTON - The establishment of a Palestinian state over the entire West Bank and Gaza would destabilize the whole Middle East, Education Minister Limor Livnat said on Friday, adding that Israel will never let such a state be born.

In a toughly-worded speech filled with vitriol for post-Zionism, the Palestinians, and the Israeli left wing, Livnat said 40 percent of the territories are already under Palestinian Authority control and "giving Arafat a sovereign, territorially contiguous state, with internationally recognized borders over the rest of the West Bank and Gaza as well, is out of the question."

"There is no rational explanation conceivable for doing something that would destabilize not only Israel, but certainly Jordan and probably the entire region as well," Livnat said in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Livnat, who was the keynote speaker at a conference held by the institute, said Israel must pursue a "functional and operational peace" rather than a formal one with the Palestinians and Syria. To achieve such a"functional" peace, she said, Israel needs to "control the high ground of the Golan, Judea, and Samaria."

Her remarks seemed to suggest that Israel will not be willing to hand over any more territory in negotiations. Dividing Jerusalem, she said, would lead to more aggression against Israel and cause the "creation of a new Belfast or Beirut" - two cities that have been plagued by religious strife.

Her comments came as Foreign Minister Shimon Peres prepared to leave for Cairo, Amman, and Washington on a trip aimed at finding a formula for ending the violence and reviving dormant peace talks on the basis of the Egyptian-Jordanian ceasefire proposal.

Livnat set low goals for peace in the region, saying peace between Israel and her neighbors "must be based on deterrence, not détente," and that Israel should not sign agreements with autocracies since they "do not honor paper commitments."

In her role as education minister, Livnat said, she will strive to rid the Israeli school curricula of the post-

Zionism that "has crept into Israel's educational thinking," and "reinstate Jewish values and reinvigorate Zionist idealism." "Israeli post-Zionism denigrates Jewish rights to the Land of Israel, disparages Jewish values, and trivializes the historic justice inherent in Israel's rebirth," she said.

She likened the post-Zionist movement, which in recent years has advocated a more critical look at the events surrounding Israel's birth 53 years ago, to "the battered-wife syndrome."

"How could we have gone on blaming ourselves - like in the battered-wife syndrome - while constantly showing understanding for the unconscionable behavior of the Palestinians? See post-Zionism and understand why," Livnat said.

(c) 2001 The Jerusalem Post

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