Yuval Steinitz was a Professor of Philosophy and a Peace Now activist. In 1994, when he saw that Oslo was a disaster, he did a great deal of soul searching and joined the Likud party. In recent years he has left the university and become active in politics. He speaks now as Chair of the Knesset Foreign Relations and Defense Committee, and on July 16, 2003, provided his first briefing for the foreign press.

Dr. Steinitz, who is a strategic thinker, anticipates difficult years ahead for Israel.

He is not satisfied with the roadmap, which he believes to be unfair and unbalanced. It may, in fact, lead to the opposite of what was intended. The signs of this are plentiful:

  • The hudna, which lends an impression of peacefulness, is not a ceasefire, but a temporary cessation in order to allow recovery so that violence can be resumed. An internal Palestinian arrangement, it was imposed by Egypt on the PA and Hamas.

  • The Karine A gunboat [captured by the Israeli navy in January 2002] made the intention of the PA clear – to threaten Israel directly. These weapons patently were not intended for fighting terrorism.

  • But that intention was obvious well before the gunboat was captured. With Oslo, the PA agreed to demilitarization, yet began to violate this agreement almost immediately. They were permitted 9,000 police by agreement and had 30,000 within a year.

Israel is not ready to resume a peace process with threat of violence now or in the future. For three years, Dr Steinitz has been of the opinion that we should destroy the PA and send Arafat and his cronies back to Tunis, whence we brought them.

The Egyptians, for all their lack of sincere intentions, do keep agreements they have signed. The Sinai was supposed to be demilitarized, and it has stayed so. But it continues to prepare as if there might be war. Incitement in Egypt is as much or greater than in the PA. There is also considerable smuggling of arms via tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. Egypt makes no serious attempt to stop this, even though it would be easy in the exposed Sinai. The Jordanians have been working with sincerity for three years to stop gun smuggling, intercepting some 250 attempts in a year, while the Egyptian intercept about 15. (Jordan has proved to be a good friend.)

Second and third circle states [that is, separated from Israel by one or two states] can also pose an immediate threat, as missiles of longer range, with potential for chemical and biological weapon delivery, are being developed.

While the terrorist organizations have a deep hatred for the West, this is not necessarily so of states that support the terrorists. For them the approach is more pragmatic: they use terrorist organizations as a substitute for war, and to blackmail or control other states.

Ironically, since the war in Iraq, the terrorist organizations have become more important to these states – convinced that war as not a viable option, they want to hold on to the terrorist organizations to use down the road: Syria wants to save Hezbolla; Egypt promoted the hudna to save the Hamas infrastructure; the PA clearly is failing to fulfill a commitment to eliminate other armed forces. Saudi Arabian incitement against Israel continues (its incitement against the US has diminished since 9/11); the Saudis are major funders of terrorism.

Syria has a variety of chemical weapons in larger quantities than what existed in Iraq or what does exist in Iran. And they have scuds and bombs for delivery. The Shihab 3 Missiles in Iran can reach Israel and yet Iran is working on a Shihab 4 and 5 – to reach 6-7,000 km., far beyond Israel. The same is true of Libya, which is developing long-range missiles. Ambitions of these countries extend beyond the Middle East to control of Europe. It is time for the Western world to prevent it or it will be too late.

Israel, which is a miniscule country, requires strategic depth to be viable. “Israel should not sacrifice its very existence for the sake of another people.” Israel must be able to defend herself in case of conflagration.

Minimally what Israel needs to be viable is: 1) security zones in west Samaria, without which defense of the Tel Aviv area is impossible; 2) the Judean Valley; 3) a Jerusalem corridor. This is not just a defense against terrorism, but also against forces called in from Syria or Iran.

Without this Israel cannot proceed with a peace process. Oslo promoted massacres, not peace. Israel is willing to give some of its land to another people even though there is a strong historical connection to it that makes relinquishing it difficult. But Israel will not commit suicide.

It seems that Europeans and others do not care for justice for Israel. The demand is always regarding what Israel should do, without consideration for what Israel needs.

The global war on terrorism was supposed to prevent harboring of terrorism. Yet the PA is excluded. It is ridiculous that the US demands that Syria close Hamas offices in Damascus but does not demand that the PA shut down Hamas in the territories