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Dore Gold


By Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., currently the head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

April, 2010 - In the last decade, one of the areas in the peace process where Israeli governments--as well as American administrations--failed was anticipating the "day-after". Those who advised Ariel Sharon to adopt the disengagement from the Gaza Strip probably did not anticipate that after Israel withdrew, the rate of yearly rocket fire by Hamas and other groups on Israel would increase by 500 per cent ( from 179 attacks in 2005 to 946 in 2006).

With the focus created by the Obama administration's disagreements with Israel over the future of Jerusalem, it is important again to consider the question of what will the "day after", should a re-division of Jerusalem be actually considered, in line with some of the thinking today coming out of Washington. Unquestionably, this would dramatically increase the vulnerability of Jewish neighborhoods to attack. And it can be argued on the basis of experience, that this increased vulnerability would undoubtedly be exploited by Palestinian armed groups against the residents of Jerusalem, using everything from automatic rifles to home-made mortars to even simple rockets, just like the ones produced in the Gaza Strip.
The opportunities for exploiting the vulnerability of Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem are multiple. For example, Shuafat is roughly 300 meters from French Hill on one side and 100 meters on the other side from Pisgat Zeev, where 42,000 Israelis live.  Tzur Bachar and Jabal Mukabar are right next to East Talpiot, where more than 12,000 Israelis live. Nadav Shragai has noted that Palestinians in Issawiya, which is only 74 meters from the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, will be able in the future to take over the domineering terrain controlling the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim road, from the North, and from the neighborhood of At-Tur, in the South, as well.

True, Israel pulled out from the Gaza Strip unilaterally; if it ever withdrew within Jerusalem, that would only happen in the context of a peace agreement. But that argument has only marginal value. It should be remembered that Israel had an interim agreement with the Palestinian Authority prior to the Second Intifada, that Yasser Arafat launched in September 2000. Nonetheless, Jerusalem became a focal point for terrorist attacks at that time. For example, Beit Jalla was under full Palestinian control in 2000. It is positioned right across a ravine from the Southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, where more than 27,000 Israelis live. During the Second Intifada, Palestinian snipers invaded the houses of Palestinian Christians and opened fire on Israeli residents of Gilo, terrorizing thousands.

In short, signed Israeli-Palestinian agreements were breached by Palestinian units. In September 2005, Avi Dichter, who had just left his position as head of the Shin Bet, argued in a Jerusalem lecture that  since 2000, the PA had not lived up to a single security agreement with Israel. He specifically mentioned Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abd Rabbo as Palestinian leaders who misled Israeli, Egyptian, and American security officials.
Why must Israel take into account the real possibility that there may be attacks in the future, even after a formal agreement is concluded? First, every agreement with the Palestinians is likely to produce some degree of dissatisfaction, because certain Palestinian goals will not be reached. In western Jerusalem, there are Palestinian claims on many properties. Within the Old City, if an agreement grants Israel sovereignty over the Western Wall, there will be significant Palestinian religious voices who will argue that the area was Waqf property adding the Islamic tradition that Muhammad tied his winged horse, al-Buraq, to the Western Wall before he rose to heaven during his "Night Journey" to Jerusalem. Even today, Jerusalem is a magnet for radical Islamic elements who seek to stone the Western Wall and place holy sites at risk. But without the protection of the State of Israel, these holy sites would become dangerously exposed.
Second, it is also difficult to predict the attitude of a future Palestinian government to Palestinian armed groups. Today, the Dayton Force of Salam Fayyad appears to be functioning well because most of the real security in the West Bank is provided by the IDF. Fayyad has an incentive--he wants to declare a state. But if the IDF is withdrawn, will the Dayton forces fight Hamas or will they collaborate with them? During the Second Intifada, Marwan Barghuti led a special security framework called the "Nationalist and Islamic Forces," which coordinated the military activities of Fatah and Hamas.
In 2000, President Clinton came up with the idea that wherever Jews live in Jerusalem should become Israeli and wherever Arabs live would become part of a Palestinian state. To an outsider, this formula sounds fair, but on the ground it would only lead to a deterioration of security in Jerusalem, and a likely escalation of conflict. You cannot take a city that looks like an ethnic chessboard and grant the red squares one sovereignty and the blacks squares another sovereignty. Israel experimented with its security by pulling out of Gaza; it must not now experiment with its security in its historical capital by accepting the newest proposals for its re-division, surfacing today.

Upcoming Kanee Lecture April 26 to Feature Ambassador Dore Gold

On April 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue  in Winnipeg, The Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada will host former Israeli  Ambassador to the U.N,  Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and a leading international authority on Iran.  He will be speaking on “The Iranian Threat: Myths and Realities.” For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit, or  call 477-7462.

A question and answer session will follow  Dr. Gold’s presentation, and copies of his latest book The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West will be available for purchase.

Dr. Gold was the eleventh Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (1997-1999), and has previously served as Foreign Policy Advisor to then former Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Gold has served as an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who asked him to accompany his entourage to Washington and the 2003 Aqaba Summit with President George W. Bush.

Dr. Gold was a member of the Israeli delegation at the 1998 Wye River negotiations between Israel and the PLO, held outside Washington. He negotiated the Note for the Record, which supplemented the 1997 Hebron Protocol, and in 1996 concluded the negotiations with the U.S., Lebanon, Syria, and France for the creation of the Monitoring Group for Southern Lebanon. In 1991, he served as an advisor to the Israeli delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference. From 1985 to 1996 he was a senior research associate at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University, where he was Director of the U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy Project. Gold received his BA ('75), MA ('76), and PhD ('84) from Columbia University.

Dr. Gold has written numerous books and articles on the Middle East, including U.S. Military Strategy in the Middle East (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense Publications, 1993), Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Washington: Regnery, 2003), Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos (NY: Crown Forum, 2004), The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (Regnery, 2007) and The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009). His articles have appeared in Asahi Shinbun, Commentary, Daily Telegraph, Die Zeit, Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Ofra, and their two children, Yael and Ariel.

In a Jerusalem Issue Brief,  Dr. Gold wrote in September 2009, “There is an unwarranted complacency growing in the West about Iran. Some believe that if the world survived the advent of Pakistani and North Korean nuclear weapons and the sky did not fall, then an Iranian bomb will be no more threatening. The cases are, of course, very different: Pakistan's bid for nuclear power was based largely on its preoccupation with India, while North Korea has been focused on regime survival and its interests on the Korean Peninsula (not with conquering Japan). In contrast, Iran is a true revolutionary power whose aspirations extend into Iraq, to Bahrain, and the other oil-producing states. It is involved in both the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies, supplying weapons and training, while its support for terrorism reaches into Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. Now Iran is heavily involved in South America and East Africa, with growing security and economic ties. With Iran threatening the flow of oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz as well, through which roughly 40 percent of the world's oil flows, the nuclearization of Iran has global - and not just Middle Eastern - implications.”       

Dr. Gold will be the fifth speaker in The Florence and Sol Kanee Distinguished Lecture series, conceived by Abe Anhang and the late Harold Buchwald as a means of provide top quality speakers visiting our community and a way for the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada to honour Florence and Sol Kanee for their many contributions to our community. Previous Kanee Distinguished lecturers were Sir Martin Gilbert, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, Professor Shlomo Avineri and Rabbi Chaim Rozwaski. This will be his first appearance in Winnipeg.   

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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