Shaked: Stop Worrying and Apologizing for Being Zionist
In light of increasing pressure from the European Union (EU) and other international powers to stop building in Judea and Samaria, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has urged Israel not to back down.
"Building communities throughout all of the Land of Israel has always been the lifeblood of Zionism," Shaked explained, "from the immigrant groups who arrived pre-state, through the establishment of border communities after the War of Independence and the establishment of communities in regions liberated in the Six Day War."
"These communities symbolized the Jewish people's return to the Land of Israel, the home of its ancestors, and has defined the state of Israel's security," Shaked continued. "Unfortunately, we have seen that where there are no Israeli communities, there is no security."
"In recent times, these settlements have become devalued in the eyes of our leaders," Shaked stated. "Suddenly, the establishment of a new community - once celebrated all over the country - has become a rare event. The pulse of Zionism throbbing in the veins of our country has begun to weaken."
"Especially now, when the flourishing communities in Judea and Samaria are facing external threats, we must say [to the world]: 'Building communities in Israel - this is Zionism," she continued.
Shaked called on the government to stop apologizing, to stop being afraid of world powers, and to tell the world that "we must return to the values that led to the rebirth of Israel in its land - the establishment of new communities."
Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the EU for summoning envoys over recently unveiled plans for some 1,800 new homesfor Jews in the ancient Jewish capital of Jerusalem, and the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.
"This is hypocrisy. The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel's destruction?" Netanyahu asked foreign correspondents at his annual new year reception.
"It's time to stop this hypocrisy," he said. "This imbalance... doesn't advance peace, I think it pushes peace further away."
The European Union has been unrelenting in its criticism of Israel's construction in Judea and Samaria. The EU promotes boycotts of products made beyond 1949 Armistice lines, and has effectively redrawn Israel's borders to those lines in policies to its member states.
Recently, the EU has gone so far as to offer "unprecedented" aid packages to both Israel and the PA in the event that a two-state solution - and a withdrawal - results from negotiations.