Op-Ed: An Open Letter to Daniel Gordis
I felt the need to write you because we had a warm chat a while ago, I enjoyed your book "Saving Israel" and you reviewed my book, "A New Shoah", positively.
But I read with deep sadness your open letter to Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, published in Haaretz newspaper and asking him to reject Justice Levy's Report recommending Israel to legalize the Judea and Samaria outposts (the report's revolution is in stating that the Jewish State is not an occupying power).
Unfortunately, the settler public has been marked with the scarlet letter of murder and expulsion and now, their ethnic cleansing has also received the imprimatur of influential Jewish rabbis and Israeli personalities like you.
"Settlers" are not only the Jews whom avant guarde, "enlightened" Westerners love to hate and the first target of the Palestinian Jihad. They are also the sacrifical lamb of Jewish suicidal temptations.
You know that the real issue in the Arab-Israel conflict is and always has been the ownership of the land.
That's why Rome, in its effort to erase the Jews and their title to the holy land, renamed it "Palestine". The Treaty of Sevres codified into international law the San Remo award of 98% of Turkey's empire to Arab nations-to-be; the 2 percent called "Palestine" went, in Balfour terms, for the Jews.
The League of Nations and the United Nations Covenant gave Israel a ratified title. Not a centimeter is "Arab land". Genesis 17:8 says that God gave Israel "all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession". Hundreds of verses and years of history confirm that title. Now we also have the historic commission led by Justice Levy.
The concept of removing all Jews from a certain region, that brings back the tragedy that befell the Jewish people in World War II, has become acceptable when it is applied to the land of Israel.
This Hitlerist logic recently drew Mahmoud Abbas to honor with a medal veteran White House Correspondent Helen Thomas, who provoked a storm in the US after saying the Jews must “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany or Poland.
However, this is racism that goes well beyond the Palestinians. It's also imbued in some high influential Jewish quarters.
Neither The Hague Convention of 1907 nor the Geneva Conventions contain any restriction on freedom to take up residence in Judea and Samaria. The situation is similar to the one which existed in Europe after World War II. Germany had lost an aggressive war against its neighbors. At the end of hostilities, these countries exercised their right to redraw borders so as to prevent any future German aggression.
In your letter you "forget" to remind your readers that not a single Arab resident has been displaced by Israelis to create the outposts. The lands on which virtually all Jewish outposts have been founded are state lands ("land in the public domain") which had been held by the British Mandatory Government, seized by the Jordanian government, and which are now under the control of the Israel government. There have been no transfers of civilians out of the area, as was done in Europe under German rule.
But by rejecting Levy's report, you implicitly suggest the largest evacuation of settlers since the 2005 Gaza disastrous withdrawal. About 4,000 Jews live in hilltop outposts erected without a formal government authorization in the late 1990s and early 2000s. You call for "hope". But is there any hope in destroying these Jewish homes?
Daniel, do you met these people before asking for their homes' destruction?
In the outposts, the fear of being killed is palpable, and the psychological impact on children and adults alike is immense (the latest Fogels' butchery in Itamar, the mother of all the outposts, became just another entry on the long list of Jewish victims of Palestinian terror).
These people are not guinea pigs for a cruel experiment, but they are treated as such. As your letter makes clear, their villages are branded “illegal” and in the end they find that they themselves have become “illegal beings". Pariahs. Vilified as a "needless burdens" on the defense budget. They have been chosen as Israel’s scapegoats, the ever-guilty, the Jewish state’s Jews. Their houses have been demolished, their children traumatized, their human rights are disregarded. Their lives have been condemned to be reversible.
Daniel, isn't ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria, using political, diplomatic and economic pressure - such as denying them government land, forbidding building, abolishing town planning - illegal, constituting a breach of the settlers' human rights, as well as a betrayal of Judaism?
Unfortunately, even important Jewish intellectuals like you are sending out the message that the blood of those living on the wrong side of an imaginary line on a map is not as red as that coursing in the veins of their fellow countrymen in Tel Aviv.
Daniel, where the Israeli media will stop to use the dehumanizing, dejudaizing language to distinguish between Jewish and Arab residents of Judea/Samaria? The "settlers" are not even qualified by the adjective "Jewish", while the Palestinians are "local residents". A "settler", of course, is meant to suggest an alien interloper who will be sent back where he came from; a "local resident" is supposedly an indigenous citizen.
Daniel, why do you repeat the canard that without Israeli concessions, the "Palestinian problem" will never be resolved and the Arab-Israel conflict will continue ad infinitum? It's like Hitler Big Lie. For the Islamic world everything Jewish is “illegal”. Everything is “stolen land”.
Peace can only be true if the Jews are no longer characterized as foreign occupiers, but as native sons who have returned home.
Destroy the outposts and you will see the domino effect: all Israel will be in lethal danger. "The colonist" is a very tiny figure in the Middle Eastern conflict, but for many reasons the civilization's future lies on his shoulders.
I hope you will reflect on my letter. This is where real hope lies.