Sunday, July 22, 2012

Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria

After former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and his committee reported their findings that Judea and Samaria were not occupied territory, and instead should have their settlements promoted, proponents of extending sovereignty over Judea and Samaria have felt their position strengthened and validated.
At this year’s Second Annual Conference on the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria more than 500 people jammed in Chevron’s Machpelah Visitors’ Center to hear Knesset Members, legal experts and journalists explain the legal, economic, demographic and political aspects of finally including Judea and Samaria officially into the State of Israel.
Judea, Samaria, Gaza were liberated during the Six Day War 45 years ago. Likud MK Tzippy Hotovely told the gathering that she hopes that sovereignty will soon be extended to Yosh (Yehuda and Shomron) so that by the “50th year, we will have a complete liberation of the Land.”
Among the speakers were HaBayit HaYehudi Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, Coalition Chairman MK Zeev Elkin, Likud MK Miri Regev (chairperson of the lobby for Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria), Adv. Yitzchak Bam of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, Former Israeli Ambassador to Washington Yoram Ettinger, Adv. Dafna Netanyahu, Mekor Rishon’s Eran Bar Tal, B’Sheva’s Immanuel Shilo, Adv. And author Howard Grief and Israel Prize laureate Geula Cohen.
Biblically Speaking
Of course, the basis of our claim to all of Israel rests in the Bible. Most everyone is familiar with the very first commentary by Rashi in Bereishit 1:1. In fact, both Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion (in 1937 when he spoke in front of the Peel Commission, as head of the Jewish Agency) and its current PM Binyamin Netanyahu (when he served as UN Ambassador in the 1980s) held up the Bible as the Jewish Nation’s deed to the land. And just recently in Parshat Masei, where Israel’s ancient borders were delineated, we read, “You shall possess the Land and you shall settle in it, for to you have I given the Land to possess it.” (Bamidbar: 33:53)
Sovereignty in our Minds
Each speaker made a clear case for Israeli Sovereignty over all of Israel, but each lamented that the politicians were the biggest obstacle to this vision.
Several speakers said the first step (perhaps the most important) that must be taken in the Sovereignty movement is bringing sovereignty into the “mind”.
National Union MK Uri Ariel said that the best example of “the vision of full sovereignty from the Jordan River to the Sea” is the report by retired Justice Edmund Levy. “That courageous stand is a general acceptance and understanding for the whole country.”
Mayor of Samaria Gershon Mesika said that the Jewish people must stop seeing themselves as “grasshoppers” and speak up for “our right to the Land of Israel.” He mentioned that he had indeed done just that in a recent speech in Brussels, and he was applauded!
“We’re always apologizing instead of going on an offensive on all fronts. How can we receive the land of Israel unless we say it’s our right?”
Mesika continued, “If we want sovereignty over all the Land of Israel, the only way to act is to bring the matter of Judea and Samaria to our consciousness.”
He commented, “Ninety percent of the people have never been there. I had an MK in my office who looked at the map of the Shomron sand said, ‘Where is Gush Katif?’”
Mesika said that in order to bring Judea and Samaria into people’s heads, we must bring as many people as possible to Judea and Samaria.
He explained that when visitors come to Samaria’s Barkan Industrial Zone and understand that it’s only 15 minutes from Tel Aviv, “they can’t believe it!” They are also surprised to see Jews and Arabs working together in 150 factories there.
“We, as a group, are the strongest pillar, the most loyal guard of Israel, and we must spread the message of Judea and Samaria,” Mesika said. “We must be like the Mishkefet project and bring hundreds of thousands to Judea and Samaria.”
He concluded, “If we are strong and speak in terms of our rights without stammering, others will understand too.”
MK Tzipi Hotovely concurred, “We cannot stand before the world and stutter and mutter, ‘Yes, it is ours, but we are afraid to impose sovereignty.’” MK Hotovely said that we must push our sovereignty “vision” forward.
In fact, Hotovely has already submitted a bill to Israel’s Knesset to adopt the recommendations of Justice Edmund Levy’s commission on the legality of settlement in Judea and Samaria.
The Conference was sponsored by Women in Green (Women for Israel's Tomorrow) and amazing organized by its chairwomen Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover.

(More to come)

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