Gilead Sher’s speech at the rally to mark 19 years since the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin
I am happy you have come here tonight. I see people who have come out of their homes in order for their voice to be heard. You represent many thousands who think like you. You haven’t given up, and you are not afraid. We are all here, because we want to live in a country that has clear and safe borders, and that is the homeland of the Jewish people. A country that is democratic and moral and that respects the minorities living within it.
Tonight I represent a movement called “Blue White Future”. We have put for ourselves a target to prepare the foundation for a reality consisting of two states for two peoples, and we know how to get there. I am also speaking out of my personal experience as a negotiator with the Palestinians, already from the time of Yitzhak Rabin. I came to say: Peace is possible.
Can anybody here sketch the borders of Israel for me? In the past, every child knew how to draw the country.
The lack of borders cripples the Israeli society both morally and socially and damages our international status. Our initiative is needed here. If we don’t act on this, others will impose on us borders that are not good for us.
We need to disengage from the Palestinians. And yes, we will need to evacuate some of the settlements. Therefore we need to invest in the areas that will eventually be part of the State of Israel.
We do not want to live in a State with an impaired order of priorities. Let us remember what were the fundamental reasons for this state to be established.
So how do we do this? By three actions which the government can, and has to, initiate.
- First, to begin with, in order to ignite the process, the government must acknowledge the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for further negotiations.
- Second, to renew the negotiations with the government of Abbas, and to agree that intermediate aims leading to separation must also be implemented. After all, it is important for us that there be a demilitarized Palestinian country beside us. This is, first and foremost, an Israeli interest.
- And three – to decide together with the settlers where to relocate the communities that are currently located east from the security barrier. This requires a complex national-scale planning. We must not leave this for the last minute. We can prepare appropriately to absorb, into the country, the communities that will be required to evacuate their homes. This is our obligation, and we are talking about our brothers.
I turn to you, the settlers: is there one value we can all agree upon? In my opinion, we have a wide and clear common denominator: a national democratic home for the Jewish nation, here in Eretz Israel. According to the vision of the Declaration of Independence. This is a flag we can all fly together. Is the size of the country more important than the unity of the nation?
And I turn to each and every one of you in the crowd today, to make room in your heart for empathy. To understand the difficulty the settlers have in accepting our perception, and to find a way to listen to one another and live together. Not to give in to a violent discourse.
Now – all we have to do is act. Not in a year, but tomorrow morning. Because there is no other way for a Jewish and democratic state, except for having two states for two peoples. We trust the IDF with any border that will be determined.
Many of us here – and tens of thousands across the country – have suffered the pain of war, the sight of bloodshed, the loss of our dearest ones. We have fought to protect our motherland. We did not fight in order to rule another nation for dozens of years, and we are not willing to wait another fifty years without a change in the situation. Yitzhak Rabin paved the way – and this is the way for peace and security.
The current government has forgotten the making of peace. But it is still not too late.
We say to the Prime Minister: history has proven it is possible to make a change. Harsh and bloody conflicts which have lasted hundreds of years have come to an end. Israel is strong, but its strength depends on our unity. And our unity derives from the righteousness of our path.
To make peace we need two brave leaders. We have seen Sadat and Begin, and Rabin and Hussein.
Honorable Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu: You have set a target – two states for two nations – but until now you have not done enough to achieve it. We offer you a way. It is clear and responsible, and it will ensure the security of the State of Israel and its future. It is a gradual process, not all or nothing. But with a clear destination which is the Zionist vision, and it is attainable.
Listen to our voice from this square. It is a clear and strong voice:
If you cannot lead, we will not continue leaving our destiny in your hands. We are taking responsibility for our future.