Redacted from an article by Moshe Feiglin
The Jewish Press, June 27, 2012
It is impossible not to notice the similarity between the Ulpana situation, (where the homes of 30 Jewish families outlying the community of Beit El were forcibly abandoned in an attempt, by PM Netanyahu, to appease Barack Obama and the disoriented “Peace Now” movement) and the Sharon-led Expulsion from Gush Katif (The former Israeli community in Gaza.)
In both cases a prime minister elected by the Right, whose ideology certainly does not endorse destruction in Israel’s heartland, veers sharply left and compels his ministers and coalition to support a Peace Now move – a move completely against the Prime Minister’s supposed agenda.
In the 1967 Six-Day War, we were forced into responding to the planned destruction of Israel by the Arab nations around us. In the process of our miraculous victory, we liberated Israel’s heartland and Jerusalem. Israeli governments in a state of delusion have since spent the last 55 years insisting on rejecting this Hashem-given gift of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Instead, we have created a time bomb, which has rolled on from generation to generation. We cannot expect the current Likud leaders to demonstrate more fortitude and determination than the leaders at the peak of Israel’s legitimacy immediately after the amazing 1967 victory.
Since 1967, whenever an Israeli leader (whoever he may be) is faced with a strategic decision that entails choosing between maintaining the status quo (so-called “peace process”) or annexing Judea and Samaria, the outcome is a given. He will yield to the demands of Israel’s obvious enemies.
In truth, we cannot maintain civilian life on a legal foundation of military occupation forever. Peace Now is doing us a great favor by forcing us to decide, once and for all, whether the Land of Israel belongs to us.
When Israel was established in 1948, the Temporary State Council passed the Legal Jurisdiction and Authority Act. According to this act, Israeli law applies to all the territory in our hands. In the Israel’s defensive War of Independence, Israel conquered quite a bit of territory beyond what the UN (who, in fact, had no legitimate right to make any decisions undermining those made 35 years previously by the League of Nations and by a divine power thousands of years before that) had designated for the fledgling state in the trumped up Partition Plan.
At the end of the 1967 Six Day War, Israel applied its law until the very last centimeter, extending its sovereignty over all the territory in its hands. All of those places became part and parcel of the State of Israel – Nahariya, Eilat, Nazareth, Beersheba, and much more. After the liberation of Judea and Samaria in 1967, Israel did not need to pass a new law. All that was necessary was to repeat what it had done in 1948.
Nobody forced General Moshe Dayan to block the Arab refugees trying to escape from Israel, (at the behest of their Arab leaders), at the Jordan River, and to send them back to Shechem and Qalqilyah with bouquets of flowers. And, nobody forced him to give the Arab Wakf (Arab religious authority) the keys to the Temple Mount. The Arab Wakf, in fact, expected the Jews to destroy the Muslim Temple that had been deliberately built over the original world renown King’s Solomon’s Temple so as to obscure the biblical history of the Jews and wipe out the evidence of 2000 years previous ownership. Instead, the secular Dayan, with no real emotional comprehension of the momentous triumph, did quite the opposite.)
But, why should we denigrate Dayan? The consciousness of the entire Israeli leadership – including the religious leadership – was not prepared to deal with the identity challenge that suddenly burst into its reality – the land of our forefathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) that fell into its lap.
The chance for peace with the Arabs vanished as soon as they realized that they really hadn’t lost the war at all and that Israel saw the territory that it had conquered as nothing more than a bargaining chip. Three months after the war, the Khartoum Council gathered and the Arab countries announced three decisions: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.
Israel could not swallow the territories it had liberated, but it also couldn’t purge itself of them. On one hand, there was no one to give them to because nobody was willing to take them. On the other hand, the Zionist spirit that still coursed through the veins of the secular, socialistic Labor Party preferred to apply the 1948 rules to 1967 and deal itself with Israel’s biblical claim.
The orphans of Gush Etzion (Where all Jews in sight were slaughtered by invading Arabs) and the Jewish community of Hebron (likewise) wanted to return home. Their demands were very much a part of the Israeli discourse.
This is the basic outline that explains how the settlements in Judea and Samaria were created. For all practical purposes, Israel, in the usual fit of misplaced Jewish guilt, declared to the world that this is not our land but rather it is occupied territory. It explained settlements as security needs. That type of legal foundation can hold up for 3-4 years – not 40.
The best PR professionals in the world cannot explain the justice of our settlements in Judea and Samaria when our conduct shows that we see ourselves as foreign conquerors settling our citizens in a land that many secular Israelis do not understand as ours. Whoever fantasizes about an Israeli retreat from Judea and Samaria, with or without a partner, already has the precedent of the Expulsion from Gush Katif. In the meantime Israelis are predictably suffering the subsequent missiles raining upon Beersheba and Ashkelon, as the relentless Arab goal to completely destroy Israel moves forward and naive Israelis look to give away still more vital territory.
It seems, however, that we will not be able to change the Creator’s decision, since the miraculous Six-Day War, that this land will remain ours – in spite of ourselves. Sooner or later, we will have to apply the Legal Jurisdiction and Authority Act to Judea and Samaria and incorporate this biblical dedication once more.
To accomplish this, we will need leadership with a consciousness that does not fear the historical identity challenges posed by biblical treasures like the Temple Mount, the Cave of Machpelah and the Tomb of Rachel. And, leadership like that will arise. It is only a matter of time.
Moshe Feiglin is the founder in Israel of Manhigut Yehudit, The Jewish Leadership Movement.
Jerome S. Kaufman