Saturday, June 9, 2007

road map to peace is a lie

General who helped redraw the borders of Israel says road map to peace is a lie
The man who commanded Gaza and the West Bank from the last day of the Six Day War talks to Donald Macintyre in Tel Aviv

Published: 10 June 2007
Immediately after the Six Day War, 40 years ago, Shlomo Gazit was put in charge of Gaza and the West Bank. Today, the retired general is in favour of talks with Hamas, describes the road map as a "pretext" for Israel not to negotiate with the Palestinians, and thinks the idea that the US can or should veto a peace process between Jerusalem and Damascus is a "nonsense".

At first sight Mr Gazit could be a classic military hawk. A tough, unsentimental man with 37 years in the Israeli Defence Forces behind him, he has never been slow in condemning Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. Yet he enjoys the unique distinction of having, from the heart of the Israeli military, proposed in writing a Palestinian state exactly 40 years ago yesterday - 24 hours before the war had even ended.

And he has never been more convinced than now that such a state, its negotiated borders based on those that preceded the war, and involving withdrawal from most of the West Bank Jewish settlements, remains the only answer to the conflict.

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