Interview with senior GI committee member Attorney Talia Sasson in the Times

By David Horovitz, Times of Israel

15.04.12
 
Senior steering committee member of the Geneva Initiative and writer of the government report on unauthorized settlements, Attorney Talia Sasson, gave a full interview to chief-editor of the Times of Israel. Sasson says that stopping illegal settlement expansion is not only for the benefits of the Palestinians but rather it is essential for the continued existence of a Jewish and democractic state of Israel.
See excerpts below, and click here for the full interview
 
Attorney Talia Sasson, Senior committee member of the Geneva Initiative
 
[Excerpts]
 
So much depends on context. If there were a real sense that peace was at hand, it seems, the Israeli public would be prepared for very far-reaching territorial concessions and there would only be strong opposition at the extreme. But there is no such feeling…
 
The Israeli public makes a connection, as it has been educated to do all through the years, between peace and evacuating settlements. I don’t make that connection. I think it works to our disadvantage. (We need) a prime minister who understands that it is in the interest of the state of Israel to evacuate some 100,000 settlers… Incidentally, if you sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians according to the Clinton parameters [Geneva parameters], or according to the Obama view, you evacuate 100,000-120,000 settlers and all the rest you leave in place, annexing the territory where they live to the state of Israel by agreement. You leave about 85% of the settlers in place, on about 3.5% of the West Bank territory, and in return you give equivalent territory from within the state of Israel to the Palestinians. You leave most of the settlers where they are, and remove 120,000 from most of the territory to the east of the separation barrier. They are distributed over a wide swathe of territory. This is perhaps the more ideological group, the more extreme of the settlers.
 
But I think that these people who are settling in the West Bank are pulling out the rug from under the state of Israel, in that it won’t be the nation state of the Jewish people. Put together the Arabs of the West Bank, the Arabs in Israel and the Arabs in Gaza, and that’s five and a half million Palestinians, There are fewer than six million Jews. So (unless we separate,) either we lose our Jewish national state or we lose our democracy or, in my opinion, we lose both of them.
 
Palestinian rights:
There’s another people here. It has rights. The Jewish people has rights, after 2,000 years when it didn’t have a state, and the UN recognizes those rights. So, too, the Palestinian people. It has rights and it wants a state. Who are we to deny them that? Two peoples have demands on the same territory. It has to be shared. What can you do? You can’t have everything in life. You can’t rule all the territories up to the Jordan River. That’s the reality of the state of Israel.
 
What defines the Jewish state?
We established the state of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The significance of those words is a Jewish majority in the state of Israel. Otherwise, since this is a democratic state, if there is no majority, it will not have the Jewish characteristics – never mind what those are; I’m not talking about a Halachic state. The significance of a Jewish state, as the Supreme Court defined it, is a Jewish majority in the state of Israel, with the right of all members of the Jewish people to come and live here, and a connection between Israeli Jews and the Diaspora. That’s the Jewish state.
 
Settlements for security?
The idea of taking control of the territory was advanced under the cover of all kinds of security arguments – the need to retain the high ground, to widen the narrow hips of the state, to attain greater strategic depth. If there was ever any basis to such claims, it has long since gone.
 
To read the full interview, click here