Israeli Sovereignty Now!

PM Netanyahu's demand that Palestinian leaders recognize Israel as a Jewish state is not a semantic tease; Israel's Jewish character is its raison d'etre and the essence of its sovereignty. That includes Judea and Samaria.

Dr. Moshe Dann,

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Israeli leaders are addicted to the "waiting-for-their-phonecall" concept – giving up Judea and Samaria, the "West Bank" in return
Despite formal treaties and "peace plans," most Arabs reject Israel's very right to exist, not which territory it occupies.
for peace. PM Netanyahu's offer to continue a freeze on Jewish building if Palestinian leaders recognize Israel's right to exist is more of the same nonsense.
 
If Israeli politicians are unwilling to extend sovereignty to this "disputed territory," why should they object if the Palestinians declare it their homeland, with full sovereignty, and ask for international recognition?
 
Israeli reluctance undermines its diplomatic position, strengthens those who condemn Israel for its "illegal occupation," and plays into the hands of those who would wipe Israel off the map. 
 
Israel's declaration of sovereignty, at least in those areas of Judea and Samaria which it holds, would present Israel's claims and strengthen its demand for recognized and defensible borders. But what are those "borders"? 
 
Born in conflict and strife, attacked from within and without, The State of Israel has never known real peace. Cease-fire armistice lines agreed to in 1949 were never recognized by Arab countries; their intentions were to destroy Israel. These temporary lines are neither defensible, nor "borders."   
 
Although Egypt and Jordan recognized borders with Israel in peace treaties, the definition of Israel's border with Jordan refers, on the one hand, to lines established by the League of Nations for the Palestine Mandate, which would seem to indicate that Israel's eastern border is the Jordan River. On the other hand, a proviso in the treaty states, "without prejudice to the status of any territories that came under Israeli military government control in 1967," reflecting Jordan's reservations concerning Israel's legal entitlement to Judea and Samaria.   
 
Syria and Lebanon do not accept Israel's legitimacy at all, continue a state of war, and do not recognize any boundaries with Israel. Despite formal treaties and "peace plans," most Arabs reject Israel's very right to exist, not which territory it occupies.
 
The question of what legitimately belongs to Israel became more complicated after Israel acquired Judea, Samaria and Gaza, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in 1967. Although Jerusalem was annexed in 1967 and Israeli law and administration applied to the Golan in 1981, many Israeli politicians, jurists and media oppose extending Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.
 
Officially defining Judea and Samaria as "disputed," Israeli jurists referred to these areas as under "belligerent occupation," because they were acquired in war. Most of the international community, the ICRC, ICJ, and UN agencies hold Israel is "illegally occupying" these areas. Despite existing Israeli law and international law confirming Israel's rights to these territories (e.g."Law and Administrative Ordinance, #11" June 27, 1967), Israel's ambiguity has led to confusion about the status of these areas and Israeli sovereign rights.
 
This confusion became even more complicated when Israel recognized a "Palestinian Authority" (in the Oslo Accords of 1993), a pseudonym for the PLO, which is still the "sole official representative of the Palestinian people," and unilaterally withdrew from large parts of Judea and Samaria, designated "Areas A & B," in which nearly all Arab Palestinians reside.
 
More damaging, PM Ehud Barak (in 2000) and PM Ehud Olmert (in 2007) offered the PA 97% of Judea and Samaria, plus 3% of sovereign Israeli territory, including parts of eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount – in return for an agreement to end the conflict and claims against Israel. The PA refused.
 
Part of Judea and Samaria, Area C, remains under Israeli control, where all Jewish communities ("settlements") are located, more than 300,000 Jews. An estimated 30-40,000 Arab Palestinians live in this area, most of whom have Jordanian and/or PA citizenship. In a future settlement, they might remain as residents, opt for Israeli citizenship, assuming all the obligations that come with it, or voluntarily relocate, with compensation. 
Residents of Area C are subject to military law and administration, under "Emergency Regulations" handed down from the British Mandate, including Israeli citizens. This anomaly violates basic notions of civil and human rights and democratic norms and would be resolved by extending Israeli sovereignty. Israeli ambiguity and confusion have led to the current impasse. 
 
Instead of advancing its legitimate sovereign rights in these areas, Israeli politicians and jurists have apologized for and denied them. Some call Israel's "occupation" of Judea and Samaria a "moral disaster," although nearly every country and society practices some form of occupation. The international community, including the US State Dept, calls for Israel's withdrawal from all areas "occupied by Israel in 1967," despite Israel's legitimate claims, and the absence of any valid Palestinian basis for historical or legal claims.
 
If "occupation" is the problem, however, then Israel's fault was not only in 1967, but 1948, as well. And, if the dispute is territorial, why then don't Arabs make a deal? Why do they refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in any form? 
 
Advancing Israel's claim of sovereignty would at least present a compelling alternative to those of Palestinians. Not presenting its case for legitimacy, moreover, makes it more difficult for Israel to justify its possession of any areas demanded by the PA.
 
That many Israelis accept the false notion that Israel is "illegally occupying Palestinian land" is troubling. Many do not know what Israel's historic and legal rights are in these areas – or don't care. Concerned that extending Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria would compromise Israeli democracy and antagonize world opinion, they ignore the dangers of a second Arab Palestinian state, not only to Israel, but the entire region.       
 
The question of Israel's sovereignty is not a popularity contest, or political game; it is the expression of historical and legal facts. To deny that Judea and Samaria are part of the homeland of the Jewish people undermines the argument for Israel's existence at all.    
 
Although Muslims today deny Jewish historic and legal claims, the Qur'an (5:20-21) powerfully affirms Jewish sovereignty: "Remember Moses said to his people: 'O my people! Recall in remembrance the favor of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.'"

Extending Jewish sovereignty is an authentic statement of the historic and spiritual relationship between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The return of the Jewish people to their homeland, the establishment of the State of Israel, and Israel's achievements in agriculture, industry, science and technology are physical, material representations of a profound spiritual dimension -- the fulfillment of Jewish destiny. 

Sovereignty speaks to the purpose and the promise of the State of Israel and to everyone, Jew and non-Jew, who is inspired by that vision. 

To live in peace, to strengthen its strategic and security interests, to safeguard vital water resources, prevent environmental and ecological deterioration, it is imperative that Israel maintain control of Judea and Samaria and embrace, enthusiastically -- Sovereignty Now!
 
 
 





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