TO THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF
THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY,
AMMAN, JORDAN, SEPTEMBER 10, 1995:
Distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
I am pleased, indeed honored, to address this distinguished meeting here in Amman.
For me as an Israeli, as a warrior in the past and a senior official at present, it means a great deal to be able to be here in Jordan, to participate in such a wonderful conference, and to look at the Jordanian- Israeli treaty of peace, not as a dream, but rather as a living reality.
We look at this Treaty of Peace as a document that has relevance above and beyond the bilateral relations between our two countries. It is, I believe, also an outstanding model and source of inspiration for cooperative security architecture, including arms control in the entire region.
My colleague and friend, Dr. Abdullah Toukan, the Head of Jordanian delegation to the Arms Control and Regional Security Working Group of the peace process, will, I am sure, agree with this statement.
What vision for regional security and arms control in the Middle East does the bilateral peace treaty have to offer?
First, it sees arms control and regional security arrangements as an integral part of the effort to bring peace, stability and security to our entire region. It also sets clear priorities. It advances the principle that progress on bilateral tracks of the peace process will pave the way for region wide cooperative security arrangements, not the other way around.
The multilateral peace process has to support and complement the bilateral ones, and benefit from the momentum these create. It must not be allowed to get in the way of this process.
Second, this Jordanian-Israeli treaty of peace also clearly recognizes the importance of creating a political climate that will make it possible to negotiate ambitious arms control arrangement in the region. It mentions many of those principles that are essential for such a political climate. These include among others:
– Respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of all the states in the region.
– Respect for the right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders;
– Commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force and settle disputes by peaceful means;
– Commitment to refrain from any activity that undermines the security of others, and to prevent the use of one’s territory for such activity by others; including for terrorism subversion infiltration, propaganda and any other form of hostile action.
– Pledge not to join security or military coalitions, organizations, or alliances with a third party that are directed against the others.
– Commitment to develop good neighborly relations.
In addition to these basic principles, our peace treaty also recognizes that bilateral and multilateral security arrangements can and should complement each other in many areas, such as military to military dialogue, telecommunication, pre-notification of exercises and land-based troop movements, and so on. Jordan and Israel are indeed working together to implement both types of arrangements.
Only directly negotiated multilateral regional arrangements, involving many, and in certain areas, all of the states of the region, can effectively and reliable regulate arms in the Middle East. Global arms control and verification arrangements could potentially complement such regional arrangements, but in no case can they come in their stead. A clear recognition of these priorities is evident in the Jordanian-Israeli decision not to deploy any international peacekeeping force between them, but instead to rely on bilateral arrangements between them. The same logic also applies to regional arms control arrangements and their verification.
Jordan and Israel are also in agreement that the ACRS working group must be in the forum for discussion on arms control and regional security arrangements for the entire region as well as its sub-regions. We are also of the belief that these arrangements must also deal with all the potential threats to security and stability in the region.
In this context, I wish to point out three specific issues covered by the Jordanian-Israeli peace:
– First, the need to establish a Middle East order that is not built along Arab-Israeli lines, and is free from hostile alliances and coalitions. The importance of this issue is evident to anyone who remembers the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the threats to their neighbors posed by Iran and Libya.
– Second, the absolute necessity to establish a region that is free from both conventional as well as non-conventional weapons of mass destruction. May I remind you, in this context, of the long term goals for the Middle East arms control approved by the Israeli cabinet in 1993. These state Israel’s vision in this area as follows:
– "The goal Israel constantly aspires to is to live in a region in which full and lasting relations of peace prevail, based on reconciliation between peoples, good neighborliness, open borders, and trust among nations.
Thus will our region know, dangers of war and horrors of mass-destruction will be removed, and all state and nations of the region will be able to live in peace and dwell safely. Such relations of peace will put an end to arms races, and lead to reduction, to the minimal levels required for national self-defense, of standing military forces, defense expenditures and conventional arms.
In the spirit of the global pursuit of general and complete disarmament, Israel will endeavor, upon the establishment of relations of peace, that the states of the region should jointly establish a mutually verifiable zone free of ground-to-ground missiles, of chemical weapons, of biological weapons, and of nuclear weapons."
– Third, the Jordanian-Israeli treaty indeed puts an emphasis on the political context that is necessary for the establishment of the weapons free zone, namely a comprehensive, lasting, and stable peace, characterized by the renunciation of the use of force, and by reconciliation and goodwill.
Until, we reach such a political climate, we ought to concentrate on confidence and security building measures (CSBMs) that reduce tensions, diminish the potential for escalation, and build trust between the regional parties. Let me give you a few examples for such CSBMs:
– Agreements on naval measures such as the prevention of accidents at sea and cooperation in search and rescue (SAR).
– Agreements on pre-notification of exercises and large scale troop movements, as well as clarification of unusual military activities.
– Initiative dialogue between national security academies and general staff colleagues, and other educational military institutions.
In addition, we also believe that the present time could also be used to begin a preliminary study of certain issues that would be useful for future arms control and regional security arrangements, such as the delineation of the Middle East for arms control purposes, generic verification technologies, and so on.
We believe that the present time is also ripe for beginning to establish regional institutions, first and foremost a Regional Security Center in Amman, and sub-centers in Tunisia and Qatar. We are committed to help Jordan establish the RSC in Amman, and welcome the prospect of beginning its operation with a regional seminar on military doctrines before the end of 1995.
As a gesture of goodwill, Israel is also offering to host this fall officials from all the ACRS participants in one of its prime defense industries. We promise them an interesting tour of that industry, as well as the opportunity to discuss ideas for cooperation in defense R&D for humanitarian purposes, for example in the area of military medicine, mine clearance, and so on. We hope to have the pleasure of seeing in Israel for this tour as many as possible of the ACRS participants from the entire region.
Finally, let me say that the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty also commits both states to work together to set up a permanent forum for the security and cooperation in the Middle East along the lines of the European OSCE. We hope to make the first step in this direction soon when the Jordanian RSC gets off the ground.
I hope by the time of your next annual conference to be able to report to you further progress in realizing this common Jordanian-Israeli vision of peace and security for the benefit of all the peoples of the region.