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“I Guess We Have To Remind Him That He Is Also Our Prime Minister!”
An interview with Knesset member Uzi landau, Former committee chairman of the foreign ministry
By Shai Gefen

The Golan is constantly mentioned in connection with Lebanon. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Barak is pursuing his characteristically flawed policies. He connects negotiations about the Golan with the situation in Lebanon. The prime minister says that in order to arrive at an agreement in Lebanon, we must first leave the Golan. What we see is a prime minister who has adopted groveling as a policy approach. He thinks that if he flees from Lebanon, they will leave him in peace. But in truth, it will be just the opposite. The State of Israel is conceding on the Golan, which protects its security, without a ceasefire in Lebanon and without any peace treaty — it’s just utter blindness.

We see the same approach in his negotiations with Arafat. Barak is trying to give him a package consisting of additional benefits, in order to mollify him before the upcoming withdrawal. This is despite the fact, as it is known to all experts in national security, that Arafat is behind organized terrorism, and despite the fact that the Palestinian educational system continues to teach its youngest students anti-Semitism.

There were reports recently about anti-Semitism in Arab countries rivaling that of the  Nazis.

The propaganda they use against us is exactly like that of the Nazis. These are known facts, which our own people try to ignore. The Syrian newspapers equate Foreign Minister Levy with Hitler. Mubarak, with whom we signed a peace treaty, treats us like an enemy. Despite this, the prime minister sends Danny Yatom to appease him. In its degree of hatred, Egypt is on par with Lebanon and the Hizballah.

The obvious question is: How is it possible for the prime minister to want to discuss peace with Syria at all costs, when they equate us with Nazis, deny the Holocaust, and send us the Hizballah? Simultaneously, we remove our ambassador to Austria when Heider becomes chancellor! Heider has spoken far less harshly.

Perhaps it is simply a means to keep the people distracted?

This all points to something quite simple. Barak believes that if he crawls to our enemies and offers one-sided concessions, he will achieve true peace. It reminds me of the parable of the man who thought that if he continued to throw one sheep after another to the wolf, the wolf would become a vegetarian.

Is it possible that Barak’s problem is simply that the date he gave for the withdrawal from Lebanon is July 2000, and now he doesn’t know how to get out of the mess he got himself into?

Barak has given many dates and tendered endless promises. He gave Arafat a date for an intermediate accord and then he gave a date for final accords; he guaranteed the Syrians that he was ready to withdraw from the Golan Heights to the June 4th lines. He is ready to recognize the Syrian control of Lebanon; he is prepared to aid in bringing American assistance to Syria, and he is ready to modernize the Syrian army – all this before the Syrians inform us about what they are ready to do for Israel!

Barak has obligated himself on many fronts, but there is one area in which he doesn’t care to promise anything, and that is regarding the needs of the Jewish nation in Eretz Yisroel. I guess we have to remind him that he is also our prime minister!

The example you gave about the date for the withdrawal from Lebanon is something we can look at as a general approach. He concedes on every issue and every incident to everyone. To my great sorrow, in recent months we have seen more and more of his lies.

What are you referring to?

Until the beginning of the week, Barak announced that he was not willing to withdraw to the June 4th lines, and that he hadn’t given this kind of promise to the Syrians. However, at a Knesset session this week, it turned out that he was willing to withdraw to the June 4th lines, which will give them complete control of the banks of the Kineret.

We have seen his two-faced dealings in other areas, as well. Barak said he was not dictating to AIPAC and other Jewish-American organizations to stop lobbying efforts in Congress to move the American embassy to Yerushalayim. Now it turns out that he did in fact make efforts to stop the lobbying for the move to Yerushalayim.

Now there is a lobbying effort of the Labor party in Washington, which is trying to get economic support for Syria so that Syria will willingly agree to a peace treaty. He denied this, and now it turns out he was lying.

Are you saying that Prime Minister Barak is knowingly misleading the public?

When he was elected, he started with trickery and lies. He used the system in order to circumvent the law and twist it to his advantage. His lies are not only about political and security issues, but even about economic issues.

The “old woman from Nahariya” is no longer lying in the hallway of the hospital, because the prime minister’s promises were not kept, and this led to her early demise. Students continue to demonstrate because the prime minister has not kept his promises. The same can be said of the handicapped. Barak is leading the nation with lies and deceit on all issues.

Aren’t you impressed by the foreign minister promising “blood for blood” and “a child for a child” in the talk about the war in Lebanon?

We are finally seeing a minister in this government who reflects the political views that all Israeli governments have had until recently, namely, that we will absolutely not allow them to hurt us, and whoever does hurt us will pay dearly for doing so. The critical issue is that we have a group of Knesset members who identify with the Hizballah enemy, and one of them is actually Arafat’s advisor. They prevent open debate in the Knesset, while the Knesset leader, Avrohom Borg, allows them to derail the work of the Knesset.

Barak owes a lot to Israeli Arabs who supported him in the elections.

He has obligations towards the Israeli Arabs and has obligations towards Clinton, who helped him get his position. When will he have obligations towards the Jewish nation and its security?!

In your opinion, will Barak sign the agreement with Syria?

Barak is ready to crawl and humble himself in order to sign an agreement worth less than a penny, as long as Asad’s signature is on it. Barak has no clue about negotiating. He has no sense of history, and unfortunately, he has no self-respect and no vision of the goals of the Jewish nation and how to advance them.

Barak maintains that he isn’t the first, and that four prime ministers before him paved the way, from Shamir through Netanyahu.

That is an outright lie. Because although Shamir went to Madrid, he didn’t agree to withdraw from the Golan. Netanyahu agreed to compromise on the Golan, but he spoke in terms of “miles” and not about withdrawing to the lines of the 4th of June. Even Mrs. Rabin was disturbed by the fact that her husband was portrayed as agreeing to the withdrawal to the 4th of June lines.

When you look at the broader picture, you see Barak’s lies time and again. He tries with all his might to place the blame on others in order to justify what he is doing.

Everyone spoke about Barak as a war hero. Of all people, how is he willing to undermine the security of millions of Jews in their land?

Of course, on a personal level, he is a hero, for he exhibited courage in battle. When you put him in charge of a government, though, it’s another story entirely. Heroism on the battlefield is altogether different than leadership skills. When you read about the battles of the Jewish kings in the book of Melachim, you see that there were kings who were heroes on the battlefield, and losers when it came to leadership. History is replete with people who were outstanding in their strength but who brought tragedy to their brethren because of grave errors they made.

Are you satisfied with what the I.D.F. has been doing in Lebanon?

Absolutely not. Though, I do not blame the I.D.F., but rather, the politics that the civilian government imposes on it.

Soldiers say they feel like sitting ducks and that they are not allowed to react.

I don’t like the term being used, but I certainly agree that the Israeli government is shackling the hands of the I.D.F. in Lebanon and is not allowing it to carry out the necessary operations to properly protect the security of those living in the north.

Can the I.D.F. leave Lebanon now?

The real issue now is not whether they are leaving or not, but how we can change the rules of the game in Lebanon. The change cannot be made with nice words such as, “We will do all we can,” or “a child for a child,” or the like. Priority number one is to let the mortar fire and planes speak for themselves – to hit the Syrian interests in Lebanon directly, steadily, and unremittingly, as long as Syria keeps operating through the Hizballah.

Our approach lately has been that if they inflict harm beyond a certain limit, and fell a large number of soldiers, only then do we bomb them. This is an invitation to trouble, which we should absolutely reject. We must keep attacking Syrian interests in Lebanon, destroying important sites like airports, power stations, water companies, and the media.

We should not be merely reactive when our soldiers fall! We have to keep pounding away in order to create an atmosphere of unrest in Lebanon, so that Lebanon ceases to operate properly from an economic standpoint. When Lebanon’s economy begins to falter, and millions of Syrian workers who are currently employed in Lebanon stop sending their families in Damascus half a million dollars, the Syrian economy will begin to hurt. [The Syrians] will come to understand that hurting us doesn’t pay.

The fact that the Israeli government wants to withdraw is well known. The question is what does Asad want? Is he interested in this at all?

Some say he doesn’t want peace. It’s possible he cannot sign an accord altogether. Then again, he might be able to sign such an agreement, but he wants it on his terms. His terms are that if we give him everything, and he gets a lot of economic help from the U.S. and he can modernize his army – only then will he be willing to agree to what we refer to as “peace.”

That’s why we can’t be involved in this at all. You have to understand that if, chalila, we leave the Golan Heights, we are exposing Israeli citizens to grave danger. From a security standpoint, the entire Galil will be exposed to a sudden Syrian attack. We won’t be able to guarantee the proper response at the right time in order to ward them off.

Barak talks about economic improvement, if and when he signs an agreement with Syria. Is this correct?

That’s also a lie. Peace will cost dearly from an economic standpoint. All the stories of economic improvement are fantasies. The price of an agreement with Syria, which will be 30-40 million dollars, will be paid for by Israel, or at least a large percentage of it.

Before Camp David they also told us to expect economic improvements. Those who remember know that following Camp David, we went into the biggest economic slump ever. Our situation will be much worse now because of having to move military installations, paying for the costs of heightened mobilization, dismantling dozens of yishuvim and taking down flourishing enterprises. It will end up costing us billions of dollars.

On Wednesday, the Likud Bloc will be proposing legislation requiring a decisive majority in a national referendum. Are you confident about the public’s opinion about the Golan?

Public opinion can change at any time. I would like to hope that when it comes to the Golan Heights, the more the prime minister’s topsy-turvy approach becomes apparent, as well as Asad’s abiding hatred for us, it will convince people not to rely on this pathetic agreement.

You are accused of proposing racist legislation in order to neutralize [the vote of] Israeli Arabs…

Why is that racism? Whoever accuses us is assuming that Israeli Arabs will vote as a bloc the way he wants. If so, he represents Israeli Arabs as mindless individuals who don’t know how to vote.

I don’t know exactly how they will vote, but I suggest that whoever brings up the issue of racism should take a good look at himself. In my opinion, there are people among the Israeli Arabs who do not agree with the idea of withdrawing from the Golan because they will also be adversely affected. One of the ramifications will be the government taking away property rights in the Galil in order to reconstruct I.D.F. bases and training sites.

Where do you think the talks about withdrawal from Yesh’a and the north are heading? We have spoken about details up until now, but it seems as though something deeper is going on.

First of all, this withdrawal is the result of an attitude problem. Before we talk about politics and security, we have to see where this idea of withdrawal is coming from. Obviously, if we abandon the Golan Heights, Yerushalayim will be on the agenda, too.

Actually, we are conceding Yerushalayim right now. These concessions include illegal construction, activity on the part of the Palestinian security forces in Yerushalayim, and kidnapping of Israeli citizens.

Do you think Barak will divide Yerushalayim?

Barak will divide everything. From the moment he mounted the slippery slope of concessions, he was unable to stop.

Can’t the government withstand the pressure on such sensitive topics as Yerushalayim?

Unfortunately, in the past decade, not one Israeli government has properly withstood Arab pressure, nor has any government properly protected the interests of the Jewish nation. I’m talking about caving in to the Intifada and playing the game according to Hizballah’s rules. We accept nearly all their demands and submit to whatever they demand, such as the Palestinian demands to which we respond by giving them another 6.1% of the territories in Yesh’a right now.

When you look at all these concessions, you wonder what has happened to the Jewish nation! The porter can no longer bear his load and you ask yourself, why not? The answer is clear: In recent years, the issue of justice has come up in connection with our claim to Eretz Yisroel.

I think that the biggest weakness of recent years has come about as a result of being alienated from our Jewish roots and from the emuna that brought us here. Emuna was the source of the strength that brought us here and gave us the spirit to fight our wars. It really frightens me, because aside from the dangers to our security, there is the palpable danger of assimilation. That is what underlies our weakness. We are in one of the most critical times our nation has experienced in the most recent decades. There is no question that we must return to that original spirit that sustained us, the spirit of our Jewish faith.



Barak believes that if he crawls to our enemies and offers one-sided concessions, he will achieve true peace. It reminds me of the parable of the man who thought that if he continued to throw one sheep after another to the wolf, the wolf would become a vegetarian.






Priority number one is to let the mortar fire and planes speak for themselves – to hit the Syrian interests in Lebanon directly, steadily, and unremittingly, as long as Syria keeps operating through the Hizballah.






The Golan is in the news again. There’s talk of secret meetings and an imminent agreement with the Syrians, mediated by the Americans.




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