Golda Meir on Compromise
I guess we have no choice. Either we do everything that is possible, and may seem to others as impossible, and just give up. Or we do everything that is really impossible and we remain alive. There’s one more basic thing that I think that people outside of Israel must realize, and if they understand and accept that, maybe other things will fall into place.
For instance, we’re not the only people in the world who’ve had difficulties with neighbors; that has happened to many. We are the only country in the world whose neighbors do not say, “We are going to war because we want a certain piece of land from Israel,” or waterways or anything of that kind. We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here. And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive. Here.
So this is the crux of the problem: it isn’t anything concrete that they want from us. That’s why it doesn’t make sense when people say, “Give up this and give up the other place. Give up the Golan Heights,” for instance. What happened when we were not on the Golan Heights? We were not on the Golan Heights before ’67, and for 19 years, Syria had guns up there and shot at our agricultural settlements below. We were not on the Golan Heights! So what, if we give up the Golan Heights, they will stop shooting? We were not in the Suez Canal when the war started.
It’s because Egypt and Syria and the other Arab countries refuse to acquiesce to our existence. Therefore there can be no compromise. They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise. And that’s why we have no choice.
Source: 60 Minutes Interview, (September 1973)