The more terrorism has increased over the past thirty years, the more support for the Oslo Accords has decreased. However, in order to bring about true change on the ground and to completely bury the disastrous accords, it is necessary to establish that this is our land and our soil by means of Sovereignty.
The Jewish People have returned home after two thousand years of hardships, and established a sovereign State motivated by a sense of Zionist mission. In 1967, G-d and the IDF expanded our borders: from the coastal plain we returned to the mountains of Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan. It was an enormous gift that we did not know what to do with, and fifty-six years after that miraculous victory, Israeli governments still are not prepared to ratify a decision that this land is ours.
The spiritual giants among us began settling in the expanses of the liberated land, continuing the work of the early pioneers, believing that in the place where the last furrow is plowed, that is where our border will be, a type of thought process that was suitable before the establishment of the State. Instead of immediately asserting Sovereignty and officially engaging in mass construction and development, we slowly developed 'one acre and one more goat', thereby only reaching half a million Jews in Judea and Samaria. This minimalist approach was reflected in the words of the pioneers in sayings like: “The land of Israel is acquired with suffering”; “So is the redemption of Israel at first, little by little”; “The eternal nation does not fear a long road”; “A prayer for the poor" – and we ask, is this the way it must be? Is this the only way? Could it be, as a paraphrase to the famous song, that Israel is fearful, and that is why the road is long?
We wish to propose a different path. It seems to us that the path of Calev and Yehoshua is preferable: “We shall ascend, and inherit it.” To reach that path, we must take action on two tracks: settlement and sovereignty. Unfortunately, we are advancing only on one track – the track of settlement, but we are not advancing on the diplomatic track that will ultimately lead to sovereignty. Failing to stride on the diplomatic track leading to the demand for Sovereignty, we are forced to use bandages: restoring checkpoints, building bypass roads, fortifying communities, reinforcing vehicles against Arab stonethrowing, and entering a theoretical ghetto.
Loss of our path and fear of the Arabs living in our land led us not to go all the way in concluding the Six-Day War, paving the way to the Oslo Accords, for which we paid the price of thousands of victims. In the framework of these accords, Israel abandoned significant portions of our heartland to a Palestinian terrorist entity that Israel established, imported terrorists from outside the land to manage it, armed those terrorists with weapons, ammunition and cities of refuge, and imposed that “Palestinian Authority” as the new leadership upon the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The expanses of the land in which we moved freely for years were suddenly divided into Areas A, B, and C, and red signs saying “no entry for Israelis” were placed everywhere, obviously directed only toward Jews. The continuation was the expulsion of thousands of Jews from Gush Katif and northern Samaria.
The contention of the architects of Oslo was that their plan was supposed to address the demographic threat. The Arabs of Judea and Samaria, the Arabs of Israel, and the Arabs of Gaza, indeed, constitute a demographic threat when we lose direction and purpose, when we place the democratic state, and not the Jewish state, as our top priority. If we do not remain committed to a Jewish state as the overarching goal, there is truly a significant threat.
Today, it is no longer politically correct to speak of a Jewish state, of Judaizing the Galilee, or of Jewish settlement in the Negev. The "democracy" has taken us to a situation where Arab council heads loudly proclaim that they live in a state of all its citizens and are not committed to the national anthem, the flag, or Memorial Day, but assert that the State is required to guarantee their welfare without any commitment on their part.
Fifty-six years without application and implementation of sovereignty over the Land of Israel: The Arabs of Judea and Samaria sense our lack of security, our hesitancy, and they conduct themselves as sovereigns. The Israeli Arabs and the Bedouin in the Negev have read the map, and they too have raised their heads and demand realization of national aspirations also within the Green Line.
The Oslo Accords were signed with the Arabs not recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. On the other hand, Israel recognized the terrorist PLO as the legal and legitimate representative of the so-called “Palestinian people". As Dr. Shmuel Even notes in his paper “Twenty Years since the Oslo Accords”: "PLO failure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state: In the Oslo process Israel recognized the PLO as per its self-definition, namely, “the representative of the Palestinian people,” while the PLO did not recognize Israel as a Jewish democratic state, as per its self-definition. Israel merely accepted the PLO’s recognition of Israel’s “right to exist in peace and security.” Even also notes: "Violence proved to be part of the Palestinian strategy and was intended to exert pressure on Israel."
The more terrorism has increased, the more Israeli support for the Oslo Accords has decreased. Now we are dealing with new agreements. Peace agreements with Arab states, currently being discussed, come at the price of Sovereignty. Interestingly, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco are able to turn a blind eye to Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, but are unwilling to accept sovereignty. The reason is that the Arabs understand the value of the land, and they understand that when Israel will impose sovereignty over the areas of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, it will finally determine that this is our land.
We are at a critical juncture in time. International pressure is growing, the youth do not remember Operation Defensive Shield, and the reasons we staged it, and in the meantime, we are losing thousands of acres in Judea and Samaria to illegal Arab take-over and are “partners” in the establishment of a de facto Palestinian state.
Israel must urgently return to the path of Zionism: to build major cities in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, industrial zones, to disperse the Jewish population eastward, to officially ensure massive aliya of Jews from all over the world, and to ensure security on all borders of our land. First and foremost, the eastern border must urgently be secured through application of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley first, restoring governability and deterrence.
We are in the midst of a national emergency. The damage the Oslo architects caused is tremendous. By the grace of G-d, there is now a right-wing government with governmental justification of sixty-four seats, a majority of ministers and an absolute majority of Knesset members who are aware of the problems and understand the situation. The Prime Minister until now managed to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and we call on the Prime Minister, take the next step up and apply Sovereignty! Begin with Sovereignty over the Jordan Valley first. There is broad consensus regarding the Jordan Valley from Yigal Allon, through Yitzhak Rabin, Benny Gantz and many others who are concerned about the future of our Land from across the entire political spectrum. This is the appropriate response to remedy the enormous damages of the Oslo Accords.
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar are co-chairs of the Sovereignty Movement