Kerry’s speech explaining and justifying the proposed attack on Syria was very impressive. It revealed, contrary to the misleading impression presented by the media, a strong and determined personality with an inner fire bordering on fanaticism. As long as those character traits are harnessed to relieving the humanitarian plight in Syria, all is fine. Unfortunately, Kerry is also the torch-bearer for ‘Palestine’. Establishing a Palestinian state is also an emotional issue for him rather than a calculated interest. And behind Kerry stands the President, whose sympathy from day one has been for Islam and the ‘Palestinians’.
The combination of these two figures poses great difficulties for the national interests of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel all the days of the year. Just think of their effect if and when these two men achieve their first success in the Middle East by inflicting a painful blow to an Arab state, with casualties who happen to be Arabs.
Such insult added to injury will have to be atoned for by the Jews, and what could be more handy than the Livni-Erekat-Kerry “peace talks”? “We intervened on behalf of the poor Syrians,” they’ll say, “now let’s balance things out by intervening on behalf of the poor Palestinians.” With Syria, the Americans fired Tomahawk missiles, with Israel there’s no such need. Here they can apply pressure of a different sort on the other torch-bearers for Palestine: the one who leads the Israeli delegation and the weak prime minister who stands behind her.
Our hearts are with the children – as well as the adults – that were gassed in Syria. No Jew, not now nor ever, can remain apathetic in the face of mass murder by poison gas. However, there is no reason that we should pay with our homeland for crimes committed by Syrians against each other. In the same vein, witnessing American incompetence would normally be very distressing, however if an automobile is racing towards you and about to run you over, you hope – even if it’s yours – that its tires are punctured and its steering wheel crooked!
In every future scenario, the Damocles’ Sword of “peace talks” with the Palestinian enemy will remain hanging over our heads. Lately, it’s taken the form of yet another expected speech by Netanyahu – once again at Bar Ilan – in which he’ll bury the Land of Israel still deeper under the mountains of the false and fictitious ‘Palestinian’ narrative, this time – God forbid – irremediably. We’re talking about a ‘long-term interim agreement’ or establishing ‘a Palestinian state with temporary borders’. This ‘deal’ will be sold to the public as a bargain, since it will not require (for now) a mass expulsion. ‘Only’ outlying communities will be destroyed — Alon Moreh, Har Bracha, Yitzhar, and Itamar have already been mentioned.
The time has come to closely examine this catastrophic idea of establishing an “instant” state for the Arabs that will be sovereign for all intents and purposes, like France or Israel. Its borders will be defined so that the only thing ‘temporary’ about it will be the promise of expansion and enlargement at the expense of the Jewish homeland.
The result for Israel will be that domestic and international pressure will continue to increase until the full goal is achieved: Palestinian Jerusalem, the destruction of all the settlements, the expulsion of their residents, and Israel’s return to the Green Line to the last centimeter. This, of course, is only the first phase of Arafat and his PLO’s piece-by-piece strategy: it will be followed by – Allah is beneficent! – The Blue Line!
All will be as it was here in Israel, with one unfortunate difference: from now on, the Arabs will have a full-fledged state with all the attendant sovereign powers and privileges. The IDF will no longer be able to enter Jenin under cover of darkness and arrest terrorists – that would violate state sovereignty, a crime according to international law. No longer can the Civil Administration impound a garbage truck belonging to the town of Al-Bira when it dumps and burns its municipal garbage next to the homes of the Jewish town of Psagot. Doing so would cause an ‘international incident’. No longer will we own the antiquities from the First and Second Temple periods that were discovered and excavated. The coins and oil lamps from the Hasmonean period and the Great Revolt and the Bar Kochva Revolt will have to be handed over to the ‘Palestinians’ according to the requirements of the Hague Convention.
Armed with full status as a state Palestine will be able to turn Israel into an international pariah. All our claims to the Land of Israel will be null and void as against the foreign country that we ourselves, in a legally binding act, recognized as the rightful owners of the Land of Israel.
If the State of Israel protested against granting state status to the Palestinian Authority at the UN, an act whose value was symbolic rather than real, how can we now even conceive of giving our enemies the real thing with our very own hands? In giving them the sharpened knife of independence and sovereignty, they’ll be able to take from us by force all that we protected at such great cost for all these years, such as Jerusalem, the ’67 borders, the 1948 refugees, and all the rest. Have we gone insane?
And it gets even worse: did you know that today there is not a centimeter of land on the entire planet apart from the South Pole that is not under the sovereign power of a state with the exception of . . . Judea and Samaria? Only these lands that were formerly part of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations didn’t become part of sovereign Israel or sovereign Jordan– or even a UN trusteeship — after WWII. Therefore, in the opinion of the most respected jurists of international law and according to the recent Edmond Levi report, the terms of the British Mandate still apply to Judea and Samaria, currently under Israeli military rule.
What are the Mandate’s terms? It plainly states that “recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” It also calls for increased Jewish immigration and intensive Jewish settlement of the land. This is the legal basis for the settlements that were established throughout Judea and Samaria and for Jewish building in East Jerusalem. Otherwise, by what right did we take those lands and exploit their resources if they belonged to another sovereign?
Let it be said here and now that Israeli recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, where only the size of the territory is left undetermined, signifies the end of legal Israeli rule over the entire area and an historic abdication for future generations. From now on, even if the Arabs force other wars upon us and we conquer Nablus over and over again, we will always be forced to retreat because the land will be considered Palestinian land — just as the Americans retreated from Iraq because it is a foreign land for them and just as the occupation of Nazi Germany was reversed because Germans lands belong to the German people.
So, it may come to pass, God forbid, that what the Nation of Israel never did during all its years of utter helplessness in exile, it will now do while sovereign in its own land and at the height of its powers: cede its right to the Land of Israel to an alien people.
Ones hair stands on end when considering the implications: can it be other than Divine decree that the last area on earth without a sovereign ruler is smack dab in the historical heartland of the Land of Israel? And that this land at this particular moment in history is under Jewish rule and thus in the hands of its original and true owner? Picture Judea and Samaria sitting in the open palm of the State of Israel. Israel has only to close her hand and this treasure, the yearning of millennia, will be hers. The Jewish People kept faith with this land throughout the long exile and spilt seas of blood, sweat, and tears for it. And instead of grasping what was dropped into her palm, what does the State of Israel do? She drops it into the hands of her enemies in disgust. Esau sold his birthright for a mess of porridge. The sick of spirit among those who govern Israel are planning to perpetrate this national crime without even asking for anything in return. In their perverted minds, the quid pro quo is being rid of the hated “territories” and the despised settlers.
This scenario is not theoretical. During these very days, representatives of the Israeli government are sitting and reviewing with their associates the names of the communities slated for destruction. They are explicitly discussing a Jordan Valley wiped clean of its Jewish communities, where all that’s left to decide is where to situate a few military posts that will remain in the area for the time being. They need to figure out a couple more details, such as how to secure Ben Gurion Airport once the Jewish communities of western Samaria are destroyed; our American despoiler-partners are offering some technical security alternatives, prostheses to replace the living limbs that will be torn out.
And meanwhile, what are the intended victims doing, those representatives of the “Jewish Nation” living in the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria specifically named in the British Mandate as the beneficiaries of the Jewish right to the land and which a state called “Israel” wants to take from them forever?
Where are the settlements of Elon Moreh, Itamar, Einav and others who are destined to disappear in the “interim stage”? Why aren’t they rising up and shouting? Where are their friends, the other settlements whose turn to be cut off like one slices a salami will come next? Are they rising up in solidarity with their brothers? Hasn’t the time come to register volunteers who on the Day of Judgment will come to stop the destroyers with their bodies, thereby warning all the irresponsible politicians whose hands are on the steering wheel that they’re playing with fire, the fire of internal rebellion and civil war? Why aren’t the settlements of the Jordan Valley opening their mouths to inform the authorities and the Americans and the enemy that they won’t go quietly, but will fight for their homes and fields and will call on every man and woman in Israel to come stand by their side!
If such voices were heard, it might dissuade some of Israel’s leaders, but the opposite is also true: the silence in the national camp speaks loudly. It broadcasts blindness and failure to read the signs, lack of organization and coordination, weakness and helplessness. Such impressions, whether true or misleading, add to the confidence and fighting spirit of the forces of destruction which in turn contributes to hastening and intensifying the catastrophe.
The settlers already number, thank God, hundreds of thousands; even if only the ‘ideological’ settlements are counted, the numbers are in the tens of thousands. This public hasn’t managed to regroup since the crisis of the Yesha Council in Kfar Maimon during the dark days of the expulsion from Gush Katif. Since then, eight years ago, no other body has arisen to lead the coming struggle. However, the situation has become critical. Now, while the suicidal Livni-Erekat talks are ongoing, is the time to start the work of organizing so that we can build the tools to frustrate their designs and nullify their plans.
On our side is justice, appreciable political power, a strong hold on the land, and good people. Into our hands the future of Israel’s heartland is entrusted. The only thing lacking is the inner determination to start acting. While we wait, the forces of destruction are already on the march.
Elyakim Haetzni is an Israeli lawyer, settlement activist and former politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Tehiya from 1990 until 1992