Right wing personalities and lovers of the land are campaigning now to bring a new song to the political arena – aiming to switch the lyrics of “two lands for two peoples” to “Judea and Samaria is Israel”. Is it an impossible goal to attain? Right wing figures don’t think so. They’re introducing the new refrain to the public wherever they can.
Over the past four decades since the Six Day War, the idea to apply Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria surfaced, dove
and resurfaced. Now that the world is racing to create a Palestinian State in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem, an alternative of implementing sovereignty has come to light once more.
An Israel - Regain the Initiative Conference, held recently in Hebron at the Machpela Visitors Center explored the Jewish, Zionist, political, diplomatic, economic and legal ramifications of this move, as well as the state of Arab-Israeli and American-Israeli relations. Each of the speakers adamantly agreed that the establishment of a Palestinian State, chas v’shalom, within the borders of Israel could mean the destruction of the State. Each had his own slant on an alternative. The conference was organized by Nadia Matar, Yehudit Katsover, Women for Israel’s Tomorrow (Women in Green), Professors for a Strong Israel and Arutz 7.
Women in Green co-chair Yehudit Katsover explained that Hebron is the most appropriate place for the conference, because in Hebron the history of the Jewish people began. Avraham purchased it for 400 pieces of silver. King David ruled his first kingdom here. From Hebron, we call for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.”
BTW, a survey by the Geocartography Institute, shows that over 54% of the public favor annexing Judea and Samaria, while only 30% oppose it.
Judea and Samaria are Israel
Never use the term “annex”, Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely cautioned. “Annex is used in connection to land that doesn’t belong to you. The term should be ‘implement sovereignty.’”
“It’s clear that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. No one disagrees with that point, but after many long years we became used to living in this interim status,” MK Hotovely said.
Then why wasn’t anything done, even by the right wing, with Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) since 1967? Tzipi answered, “We hesitate giving rights to the Arabs that live here. Golda Meir said, ‘The dowry from 1967 is great, but what do we do with the bride?’”
“As we march toward September [when the PA hopes to get a UN nod for Palestinian statehood], we should do what we should have done 40 years ago. Impose Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, restore our civil control.”
Tzipi credited Uri Elitzur, former chairman of the Yesha Council of Settlements and Netanyahu's bureau chief in his first term as prime minister, as well as Rav Chanan Porat, for originally la
unching this idea.
MK Hotovely told conference attendees that at first she was alone in championing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, but now some senior government members are talking about this idea, and there are several bills that can go forward in the Knesset on this regard.
But the problem still remains of a hostile Arab population numbering between one and two million in Judea and Samaria.
Their naturalization might be dangerous to Israel. “But we can begin first by having sovereignty over Area C, where there are only 100,000 Arabs. This can be a very important experiment for us.”
She added that Israel’s Arabs should be required to do national service.
“It is six years since Gush Katif, and I do not want to see a situation where the citizens of Judea and Samaria have to fight for their homes. Six hundred thousand Jews who declare sovereignty in an area of hostile Arabs is no less logical than six million Jews [who want sovereignty over their entire Land] in a sea of millions of Arabs,” she said.
Jordan is Palestine
National Union MK Arye Eldad agreed that now is the time for Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, but he stated that part of the equation must be that the Arabs living in Israel should be considered Jordanians. He said, “A special committee at the UN, November 29, 1947, declared the Arabs in a Jewish state will be residents of the Jewish State and citizens of the Arab state.”
In addition, he feels that Arabs should be offered the right of voluntary transfer.
Eldad reminded the crowd at the conference, “Those territories belonged to our tribes”, but the
British separated 77% of the Jewish State [given to us at the San Remo Conference of 1922] for a new Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. However, 75-80% of the
population there is already Palestinian. Therefore, it seems clear that the formula for Middle East Peace is ‘Jordan is Palestine’.”
“If what happened in Cairo happens in Jordan,” he said, “the Palestinians will become the owners of Jordan. Once the Palestinians lose their orphan status as a people without a state, their international demands will become much weaker.”
Go For It All
Caroline Glick also agreed that now is the time to extend Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria, but instead of declaring partial sovereignty, Caroline advised going all the way.
Caroline, Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post, lead columnist for Makor Rishon and senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC, warned, “We understand that a Palestinian state will bring catastrophic episodes: attacks on Ben Gurion Airport; the terror of Gaza to Jerusalem; and then Arabs will stand up for independence within the State of Israel. In addition to all this, we know we can’t survive in borders without Judea and Samaria.”
“We left Lebanon, and Hizbullah took over. We left Gaza, and we got a terror state. It will bring only a catastrophe and despite that, most people of the State of Israel still believe it’s the only possible option,” she said.
That’s because the right never talks about another option, she noted. No one ever says why Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is a better option than a terror state in Judea and Samaria.
“It is true with the Arab population, if we implement Jewish law in Judea and Samaria, we will have ultimately a minority of 33% Arabs. But that option is still far more preferable than the destruction of the State of Israel with a terrorist state in its heart,” she said.
If Arabs of Judea and Samaria want to be naturalized, Caroline said, Israel can have them swear an oath of allegiance. They can also rule that no one associated with a terrorist organization can be a citizen.
She also explained that larger Aliyah would help lower the percentage of the Arab population. To tremendous applause, she commented, “Well, there’s no reason Jews should be in America!”
Israelis need not worry about security in the case of Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. She explained, “Arabs travel freely from the Galil to Um El Fahm. The reason we don’t see terror there is because we’re in charge. There is Israeli security.”
They also need not worry about the reaction of the rest of the world. “We imposed sovereignty after 1967 in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. What did ‘they’ do? Nothing. The important thing in the State of Israel is action, not talk. Every day that we do nothing and do not initiate things, we are accepting a Palestinian State.”
Glick said that because sovereignty over Judea and Samaria will not go quietly “no matter what you do or how you do it,” Israel should go forward completely imposing sovereignty over all of
Judea and Samaria in one shot. She added, “If you’re not willing to pay the price of victory, then you lose (as we saw in Lebanon).”
Professor Rafi Yisraeli of Hebrew University considered the position of the Arabs with Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. He noted immediately that the majority of Arab refugees are not seeking relocation to Judea and Samaria, but to areas inside the 1948 State of Israel.
Professor Yisraeli told the conference that after the Second World War, American President Harry Truman appointed a Jew to be responsible for the problem of 20 million refugees in Europe. He concluded that if he had to choose between existing populations fighting forever, or transferring people to another place once in the generation, then he’d choose the solution that would ultimately end the problem.
He suggested using this model of exchanging populations to include an exchange of Jewish and
Arab populations that goes back to 1948 when Jews were forced out of Arab lands [almost a million Jews]. They have since acclimated to their new lands. However, he noted, “The Arabs have made being a refugee into a career. They are refugees now in their fourth generation.”
“I am willing to recognize [the Arabs’] right to self-determination, but they won’t recognize the right to Jewish self-determination. True, every nation has the right to be a national movement, and we have a national movement too. It’s called, Zionism.”
Dollars and Sense
Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria makes economic sense, according to Eran Bar-Tal – Editor, Economics Magazine – Makor Rishon. “Money talks,” he said, “and it speak to everyone, especially young people.”
A nation’s assets are its people, its land and capital.
More Arab workers of Judea and Samaria could be put to work instead of the foreign workers, Eran Bar-Tal said. “Importing foreign workers costs money, and anyone who’s been to the places where they live – like the old bus station in Tel Aviv - knows it’s a different country. Since the outbreak of terror, there’s been less of a demand for the Arab workers in Israel, and a larger number of them are going to Jordan, and helping their economy.”
The asset of land has been very much in the news lately with Israelis moving into tent cities, demanding more and affordable housing. Eran explained, “The area in demand is 10 million dunams. If we take off the expensive areas, there are eight million dunam.” If Israel wants to
create affordable housing, they should turn to Judea and Samaria, where there are six million dunam in the center of the country, very near to Israel’s cities and employment centers. “The solution to the housing crisis is right in front of their nose – [building in Yesha]. Is it logical not to buy an asset that is cheaper and just ten minutes from Kfar Saba?” he asked.
When you’re talking about the asset of capital, Eran explained, “Investment in infrastructure in Judea and Samaria is an excellent investment. We’re always embarrassed and don’t talk about the economic price of not having sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The housing crisis is because of the freeze in Judea and Samaria.”
USA + US
People justify the need for two states, because they feel we can’t stand up to American pressure, and because they feel our population is so small, if we added any more Arabs into the mix, they’d demographically out number us in time. Former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger said that both statements are wrong.
America is not only Hollywood and New York. “There’s a huge sandwich in between the two shores with beliefs based on religion, faith and independence. They’re anti- terrorism, and they’re suspicious of the Moslem religion,” the Ambassador told the conference participants. Polls show that mainstream America is 80% pro-Israel. “We’re one of America’s five or seven most beloved nations, and Congress supports Israel,” Ambassador Ettinger said.
While he acknowledged the animosity of the President of the United States, Yoram noted that “the president is only one branch of three in the American government.”
Next, turning to the demographic threat, he noted that the real number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria, according to the Border Patrol and a survey of the World Bank is 1.6 million Arabs and not 2.55 million Arabs.
In fact, he noted, the Arab fertility rate is dropping, and Arabs are emigrating out of Judea and Samaria every year. “Last year 2010, 17,000 Arabs left Judea and Samaria, while there has been an increase of Jewish immigration and an increase in Jewish births.”
Ambassador Ettinger explained as well that the urbanization of Arabs in Judea and Samaria, combined with the higher education of Arab women are factors in the decreasing Arab fertility. While even secular Israelis are having more children. “Russian women who once gave birth to 1.1 children now are passing three. In 1995, there were 80,000 Jewish births. In 2010 -125,000 Jewish births.”
He cautioned not to be frightened by the “demographic time bomb,” because the former numbers that everyone still cites are “dramatically and artificially inflated” and time is on the side of the Jewish people.
Dr. Yitzchak Klein of the Israel Policy Center said that “Israeli public opinion determines what will be accepted and what won’t.”
If you look at the public opinion surveys lately, you’ll get divergent results.
Here’s one example. In a survey exhibited by the Israel Policy Center, people were asked, “Are you opposed to giving any territory even in the basis of an agreement?”
• 65% against giving the Jordan Valley
• 65% against giving Kever Rachel
• 75% against giving Gush Etzion
• 78% against giving Ariel
• 90% against giving the area near Ben Gurion
• 80% against giving the area near 443.
Should the separation fence be Israel’s international border? 54% said yes.
Dr. Klein explained, “The results of recent polls show the public holds two opinions at the same time: On the one hand they don't like the Palestinians, don't want to make concessions to them, don't feel we owe them anything. On the other they desperately want to be rid of them - separate from them. Taken as basic attitudes, not tied to any particular territory or border, the two positions are quite consistent and understandable. ...Any policy has to take account of both these aspects of public opinion. Partial annexation has to be combined - for now - with separation of Israeli and Palestinian areas.”
Dr. Klein said, “It isn't necessarily logically consistent with the other figures I cite, but that's what the poll shows. People aren't necessarily logically consistent or well-informed.”
Dr. Klein added, “I would like Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, not because I think it’s a security need (although it is), not because I want my son to have an apartment (although I do), but because it’s ours!!”
All in Favor
While the speakers were all in favor of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, they had small differences in how they would go about this plan, and when. Former Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education Dr. Gabi Avital explained, “The very fact that we are talking about the subject can have an affect. As Rabbi Akiva said, if we drip water on a stone, eventually we will begin to reshape the stone.
“I’m in favor of territory for peace,” Dr. Avital said. “I’ll give you peace, you give me the territory.”
The main thing is that “Despair is a danger. Israel is on a path of growth. Stop complaining, go forward.”