Keep the city undivided and ensure Israels security

I believe it is possible to reach an agreement with a united and undivided Jerusalem, but in a different way. They tell us we have reached the moment of truth, so it is time to say it loudly and clearly: All Israel seeks peace. But our commitment is to real and lasting peace that will provide security for generations.

The end to the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a clear and unequivocal agreement on the termination of the state of war with all the countries in the region (including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other peripheral states).

An agreement that terminates the conflict must include a clear and unambiguous recognition on the part of the Arab world and Arab governments, of the legitimate historical rights of the Jewish people to a Jewish state in their one and only homeland — Israel.

Without these principles and their implementation, and in the absence of real education for peace among our Arab neighbors, the agreement means little. It could very well be an agreement that contains a formal recognition of Israel's existence, but fails to outline the clear and long-term commitment to a process of true reconciliation on the part of the Arabs — the cornerstone for any lasting peace.

It is necessary to arrive at a permanent and mutually obligating peace agreement that will terminate the conflict. If, as a result of constraints, we can only achieve a long-term interim agreement with the Palestinians, Israel must continue to hold onto most of its strategic assets.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his people are threatening an outbreak of violence if their demands are not met. Prime Minister Ehud Barak's close circles are insinuating and spreading this same message. The response to these threats, in my view, should be only one sentence, saying clearly and emphatically: Beware — Israel is strong!

That is how a state with self-respect should behave, and acting in this manner, perhaps we could prevent the violence threatening us.

However, if in spite of this there will be an outbreak of hostilities instigated by the Palestinians, Israel must prepare and plan in advance its domestic, political, diplomatic and security countermeasures.

It is clear now that Barak has committed himself to hand over to Arafat historical and strategic assets, way beyond what Israel can afford to give away, thus endangering Israel's future.

Pay attention to how the Barak propaganda machine was already working full steam: Barak's close circle of advisers were spreading around what we should think of as a tranquilizer: Israel would "receive" Givat Ze'ev, Ma'aleh Adumim and the Gush Etzion settlements. Thus Israel was in fact "receiving" what it already has and what Barak promised will remain in Israel's hands forever. Israel was giving Arafat what has never been in his possession — against Barak's pre-election promises that he will never concede parts of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Barak was simply violating and reneging on the campaign promises on which he got elected.

I believe it is possible to reach an agreement with a united and undivided Jerusalem, but in a different way. We must concentrate all our efforts to arrive at a broad national consensus based on clear unequivocal "red lines." I propose six red lines that can serve as a basis for this national framework, strengthen Israel's position and enable us to reach a better, more secure agreement in the future:

*Greater Jerusalem, united and undivided, must be the eternal capital of Israel and under full Israeli sovereignty. The question of Jerusalem should not remain open, as it may become the time bomb for the next conflict.

*Israel will retain under its full control sufficiently wide security zones — in both the east and the west. The Jordan Valley, in its broadest sense, will be the eastern security zone of Israel. This includes the steep eastern slopes of the hill ridge of the West Bank overlooking the valley. Israel will maintain contiguous presence and control of the entire valley up to the Jordan River, including the border passes. The western security zone will include the line of hills commanding the coastal plain and controlling Israel's vital underground water sources. Strategic routes will be retained under Israel's control.

*Jewish towns, villages and communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as access roads leading to them, including sufficient security margins along them, will remain under full Israeli control.

*The solution to the problem of give us full normal relations with our neighbors, while keeping the West Bank demilitarized and ensuring the security of Israel, under our army's supervision, is more important than more territory on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Are hearts and minds on both sides ready for such an audacious step?

The writer is head of the Likud and has held numerous posts in Israel's government. This column previously appeared in in the Jerusalem Post.