Day after day the Arab States representatives threatened that partition meant war and demanded...all Palestine as an Arab State...Has anything changed?
Walking The Green Lie
By LEN GETZ
From: The Bulletin - Philadelphia
In its bold debut issue, The Jewish Review of Books (Spring 2010) included Shumel Rosner’s review of six books about the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, commonly known as the West Bank. The article leaves one with the impression that not only each book, but Rosner himself, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, believes that the only Jews who live in Judea and Samaria are fervently religious Zionists. While there should be nothing objectionable about this (any Jew should be allowed to live anywhere in Israel), a closer look at the demographics reveals a diverse population.
In Ariel, one of the oldest Jewish towns in the Shomron, with a population of about 20,000, less than 20 percent are religious, according to Eldad Halachmi, Vice President of Development at Ariel University Center (AUC). Most of AUC’s 8,000 students commute from places outside Judea and Samaria.
According to David Wilder, the spokesperson for Hebron, 40 percent of the residents of Kiryat Arba (a short distance from Hebron) are secular. In the towns of Nili, Tekoah, Beit Aryeh, Maali Efraim and Peduel the religious/secular ratio is about equal. In Revava, the significant secular population is made up of professors, lawyers and doctors. And in Kfar Adumin, where the ratio is about 50/50, there is a special committee that deals successfully with religious vs. secular concerns.
In a recent BBC segment it was noted that the community of Givat Ze’ev’s population of 12,000 is 65 percent secular “mostly from the liberal end of the spectrum … Givat Ze’ev has a friendly small-town atmosphere – young and old mill around a row of shops and cafes on the main street; a medical centre and a hairdresser do brisk trade … there was no sign of political motives underpinning their presence.”
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Rosner doesn’t point out these facts to challenge the universal premise that Judea and Samaria teem with religious fanatics.
But the real elephant in the article is this question: Do anti-settlement secularists oppose Jews living in Judea and Samaria because the Palestinian Arabs oppose Jews living there, and if these Jews would only leave, there would be peace? If so, aren’t the anti-settlement secularists simply acquiescing to Arab intolerance? If the Palestinian Arabs no longer opposed Jews living in Judea and Samaria, would the anti-settlement secularists drop their opposition? And, if not, if they continued to oppose Jews living in Judea and Samaria even though Arabs would not, what exactly is their gripe? If it’s unbridled hatred for the religious (as Rosner suggests is the case with authors Zertal and Eldar), why does it matter to them where they live? Would people like Zertal and Eldar be happier if the “religious settlers” left Judea and Samaria and moved next door to them?
Rosner doesn’t believe that if only these Jews abandon their homes there would be peace, but he gives this question short shrift when it is of paramount significance.
Jorge Garcia-Granados was a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine and Chief of the Guatemalan delegation to the United Nations. In his book The Birth of Israel – The Drama As I Saw It (Knopf 1948) he observed “Day after day the Arab States representatives threatened that partition meant war and demanded the same solution they had demanded when we began our work months earlier; all Palestine as an Arab State. If the Arabs are not shown clearly that there is real intention to enforce the United Nations decision, they will be encouraged to oppose it. By this time we surely know how futile appeasement is and what sorry results we get from it.”
The current Fatah charter, reaffirmed at the Fatah recent conference, calls for “Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine” (Article 22) and insists that “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated” (Article 19).
Has anything changed?
Why does Rosner downplay the most obvious and serious impediment to peace, that the Arabs consider all of Israel a settlement? Perhaps the answer lies in what the folks of Elon Moreh perceived about him when they turned down an application to live and write about their community and what he himself gives away when he gratuitously refers to Rabbi Moshe Levinger as “the incendiary, fanatical leader of Hebron’s settlers and figure of some notoriety…” It is that he, too, cannot get around his anti-settlement bias. Why else would he make the feckless declaration “there is no reason to believe that keeping the settlements is such a necessity that Israel cannot thrive without them.” What an odd criteria. Would Rosner articulate the same sentiment for say, Be’ersheba, an Israeli city in the middle of the Negev desert? Hardly. Such utterances seem to be reserved only for areas that are home to people of faith.
Leonard Getz is National Vice President for the Zionist Organization of America.