Op-Ed: From the Hebrew Press: No to an Interim Agreement
Atty. Elyakim HaetzniElyakim Haetzni is a lawyer and former Knesset member who resides in Kiryat...
As the Jewish year drew to a close, we were witness to President Obama's growing weakness and to the the embarrassing contrast between his image and that of his Secretary of State, John Kerry. Obama's hesitance caused a temporary respite for Assad, not really good news, despite the fact that both sides there are despicable murderers as well as anti-Semites.
This respite saves us - for a time - from the danger that Israel, as always, will pay for an American attack on Syria.
Kerry's speech explaining and justifying the attack on Syria was impressive. It revealed that in contrast to the image of him created by the media, he is a strong and forceful personality, filled with an inner "fire" bordering on fanaticism.
As long as this force is channeled to the human suffering in Syria, that's just fine. However, Kerry is a crusader for Palestine as well. That, too, is an emotional issue for him, not just a cool calculation of national interests. Backing him stands the president, whose sympathies lie with the Palestinians and Islam. Those two personalities working in tandem are detrimental to the Jews of Israel in general, but will be worse if and when they mark their first success in the Middle East thanks to a painful blow they deal an Arab nation, causing no small number of casualties, all of whom will be Arabs.
The resulting damage will have to be rectified at the Jews' expense, and what could be more available than the Livni-Erekat-Kerry talks? "We intervened for the poor Syrians" they will say, "and now let us balance the picture by intervening for the poor Palestinians!"
We launched Tomahawk missiles there – but here, there is no need to do so, they will opine.
There are different explosives, such as mines, in Israel, among them another enthusiastic crusader for Palestine, the one who heads the Israeli delegation - while behind her stands a weak Prime Minister.
We Israelis feel for the children – and also the adults – killed by WMD's in Syria. No Jew can be be apathetic in the face of mass murder by gas, ever, but there is no reason for us to pay for this crime with the land of our birth.
It doesn't make us happy to see American bumbling either. America is our dear friend, but if a car - including your own – is hurtling towards you and about to run you over, you will pray for flat tires and a twisted steering wheel.
In any future scenario, the Damocletian sword of talks with the Palestinian Arab enemy hangs over our heads. In the past few days, it has assumed the shape of anxious dread of another speech by PM Netanyahu, once again in Bar Ilan University, where he will bury Israel, irreparably, even deeper under the mountains of mendacious Palestinian fictions.
There is talk of a "long term interim agreement" or of a "Palestinian state with temporary borders". This baggage will be sold to the Jewish population as an achievement because it doesn't mandate mass expulsion (yet). "Only" outlying communities will be dismantled, with Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Yitzhar and Itamar, located on the high ground, among those mentioned.
It is time to take a close look at this catastrophic idea, that of establishing an "instant" state for Arabs, with sovereignty akin to France or Israel, and with temporary borders whose only "impermanence" is the promise that one day they will be expanded at Israel's expense.
Right now, as these words are being written, representatives of Israel's government are mouthing the names of communities sentenced by them to destruction.
The result, naturally, will be continued internal and international pressure on Israel, until all the Arab goals are reached: Jerusalem, the destruction of all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the expulsion of all their residents – and, of course, getting everything beyond the Green Line without conceding an inch.
This is nothing new, except that now a recognized state with sovereign rights and immunities will be behind all the coming acts of hostility. The IDF will not be able to enter Jenin at night to arrest terrorists, because that would be infringing upon the rights of a sovereign state, a breach of international law; the IDF civil administration will not be able to impound a garbage truck from El Bireh that deposits garbage and sets it afire near the houses in Jewish Psagot. That would become an"international incident."
Artifacts from the days of the first and second Temples that we excavated and discovered would not be ours anymore. The coins and lamps of the Hasmoneans, the First Revolt and the Bar Kochba revolt would become the property of the Palestinian Arabs, because they alone would have recognized sovereignty over the areas in which they were found, this in accordance with the demands of the Hague Conventions.
Armed with full statehood, a sovereign Palestine will be able to turn Israel into an international leper. All our claims for legitimate rights in Eretz Yisrael will be silenced once, we, the affected party, have admitted the rights of a foreign entity to sovereignty over our land.
If Israel officially protested the granting of symbolic statehood – ceremonial, not legal – to the Palestinian Authority by the United Nations, how can she possibly hand our enemies the real thing, the sharp sword of independence and sovereignty, that will enable them to forcibly extract that which we refused them all the years – the pre 1967 "borders", Jerusalem, et al? Have we lost our minds?
And even worse: do you know that except for the South Pole there is not an inch of land on earth that does not have some kind of sovereignty over it, except for Judea and Samaria? This area was once under the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations, and after WWII, no nation (such as Jordan or Israel) annexed it, nor did the UN hold the area in trusteeship.
As a result, according to the most renowned experts in international law, and recently according to the Edmond Levy Report, Judea and Samaria, at present under Israeli military rule, are still subject to the rules of the Mandate, as long as no other sovereignty, Palestinian for example, is declared.
What do these rules say? The 1922 League of Nations Mandate says it clearly – "recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country". In addition, it posits intensive Jewish immigration and close settlement of the area by those very same Jews. "The administration…shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions…and encourage close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." This is the legal basis for the communities established throughout Judea and Samaria and for Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem. Otherwise, how could we legitimately establish our right to the land and the use of its natural resources?
Israeli recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, leaving only the extent of the area open to amendment, means the end of the legitimacy of Israeli rule over the entire area, an irreversible and historic surrender. When the Arabs force us to enter another war, we might conquer Shechem over and over, but we will be forced to retreat each time, because the land will be defined as Palestinian land, just as the Americans retreated from Iraq because it is not their territory and just as the Allies eventually handed German lands back to sovereign Germany.
Thus, the Jews will do to themselves, while at the peak of their strength in their own land, what the Jewish people never did throughout the powerless years in exile – hand over the rights to Eretz Yisrael to a foreign body.
One's hair stands on end when one realizes another point: the Heavens wished, it seems, that the last area on earth without sovereignty would be the biblical heartland of Eretz Yisrael - and at this moment in time, Israel, the original and true owner, controls the area. One can imagine the entire Judea and Samaria as if held in the palm of the State of Israel. All it has to do is close its handhold, and this most priceless area in the world to Jews, the one for which Jews yearned and for which they spilled rivers of blood, sweat and tears – would be theirs.
Instead, what does Israel do? It hands the area over to its enemies as if it is sick of holding on to it. Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Compared to him, some of the state of Israel's demonstrably certifiable leaders want to commit an national crime and get nothing in return. For them, "ridding themselves" of the hated areas and "settlers" is payment enough.
The points above are not theoretical musings. Right now, as these words are being written, representatives of Israel's government are mouthing the names of communities sentenced by them to destruction. They are talking about the Jordan Valley once all vestiges of Jewish communities have been erased and deciding where the IDF will retain military positions for a while. They are trying to find ways to keep Ben Gurion Airport and the flights entering and leaving it secure once the mountain ridge "settlements" of western Samaria are gone. The American rapist-partner is suggesting technical security arrangements, prostheses in place of the living limbs that are to be amputated.
And what are the intended victims in these communities – in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley – doing? Those people who represent the "Jewish nation" which was meant to be the beneficiary of the Mandate and whose rights are being abrogated forever by a country called "Israel"?
Not a thing.
Where are the residents of Elon Moreh, Itamar, Einav and others, whose homes' disappearance is part of the "Interim Agreement"? Why aren't they yelling and screaming? Where are their friends, those whose communities are the next slice of salami? Where are their expressions of solidarity with their brothers?
Is it not the time to gather volunteers to come and stop the destroyers with their bodies, to show the irresponsible figures steering the country that they are playing with fire, the fire of civil war, the fire of destruction? Where are the Jordan Valley residents to open their mouths and tell the government, the Americans and the enemy, not to delude themselves because they will not leave peacefully, they are not rabble, not the dregs of humanity. Why aren't they saying: We will fight for our homes and fields and we call on all Israel's citizens to come to our aid.
If those voices were heard, it might make some of our leaders think twice. Silence on the part of the "settlers" speaks volumes, unfortunately. It suggests blindness, inability to see ahead, lack of organization and coordination, weakness and helplessness. Whether that is the true picture or not, it serves to strengthen the forces of destruction and hasten catastrophe.
There are hundreds of thousands of "settlers", thank God. If we count only what are called "ideological communities," we are talking about tens of thousands of people. They have not succeeded in getting organized since the crisis at Kfar Maimon during the dark days of the Katif Bloc debacle (when tens of thousands gathered at Kfar Maimon in an attempt to stem the 2005 expulsion) Eight years have passed and no one has risen to take charge of the fight for Judea and Samaria, now reaching a critical stage. This is the time to get organized, while the suicidal Livni-Erekat talks are going on, to plan the steps to thwart their plans.
We have strong political forces behind us, we hold the land steadfastly, we are blessed with people of integrity, justice is on our side – and the future of the Jewish people in the heart of its country is in our hands. All that is missing is the decision to act.
The forces of destruction have already set forth.
Translated from the Hebrew press by Rochel Sylvetsky