Regional Authority Head, Shlomo Neeman
Regional Authority Head, Shlomo NeemanJonathan Sindel\flash 90

Shlomo Neeman is head of the Council of Judea and Samaria and of the Gush Etzion Regional Authority.

In the summer of 2005, just before the first IDF soldier entered Gush Katif to expel its Jewish residents from their homes, dozens of reserve generals published an opinion paper titled "The Disengagement from Gaza is good for Israel's security." Those IDF generals had served our country with loyalty and distinction for many years and had saved many lives during Israel's wars, some had fought in the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, the First Lebanon War and more, but just as the Yom Kippur War blew up in their faces, the Simchat Torah War exploded in ours. I am not blaming the massacre we suffered on those who declared unequivocally on one media outlet after another that the Disengagement would benefit Israel's security, but I do want to open their eyes to reality.

Up until the "Disengagement" from Gaza, more accurately termed the "Expulsion," our brethren lived in the sands of Netzarim and Neve Dekalim and tens of other communities in the heart of the Gaza Strip. They divided the Gaza Strip into sections de facto by driving on its routes. Although they suffered from artillery shells thanks to the Oslo Accords, their presence prevented the Arabs from being able to plan and perpetrate what can, tragically, be seen as the "Disengagement Massacre." As long as they lived on the sands of Gaza, the Arabs could not obtain the weaponry that allowed them to carry out their Simchat Torah attack.

A barrier can always be breached, walls and fences are of no avail, nor are gliders and lookouts, because to guard a region it has to be lived in. I am not saying this on my own, it has been said by commanders at the highest level who know a thing or two. The Bar Lev Line was breached in the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War, as was the Maginot Line built by France after WWI to separate it from Germany and Italy and the wall fortified by the United States between North and South Vietnam

And there is a line that can be drawn from northern Samaria, also emptied of its Jews during that terrible summer of 2005, to Gaza. After that date, Huwara, Shechem and Jenin became murderous nests of terror, because where there are no settlements - there is war, and where there are no Jews - there are barbarians.

On Simchat Torah, we suffered a genocidal blow, with over 1400 victims slaughtered, a number our minds cannot absorb and our hearts cannot fathom because a life guided by the values of the Torah we celebrate on that day is unutterably opposed to theirs. Their humanity turned into bestiality, they themselves into murderous Nazis. Who ever heard of children tied up and murdered, entire families horribly destroyed, the elderly bound and taken hostage without their medications to the dark tunnels of Gaza? These slaughterers were not created in the image of God, they have no God.

Know that the Arabs of Judea and Samaria may have different rulers than those of Gaza, but their aspirations are the same: they want to murder us and throw us into the sea. The Oslo Accords gave birth to Ramallah and Gaza simultaneously. In an interview in Al Jazeera, the Hamas murderers declared that they had killed "settlers." When the interviewer exclaimed that these were not "settlers," they answered that "these were settlers from 1948."

That is how they view us, all of us. Only Jews see a difference between the "settlers" of the Six Day War and those of the War of Independence. The enemies on both sides of our land see us all as the same – the same target.

The People of Israel have gone out to battle. And we want to see revenge. But we cannot let revenge be the only goal of this war. This war must be fought with vision – vision that frees our homeland from the sins of the Oslo Accords, vision that puts an end to Arab attempts to take over the land that has been ours for 4000 years. We have to strengthen settlement everywhere, rebuild destroyed communities on both sides of the Gaza fence, on both the east and west of it. There must be justice for the residents of Gush Katif as well as for the Gaza envelope. Our lofty goal is the return to Zion. This just war will end only when our nation lifts up its head and becomes the master of its land.

In 1937, David Ben Gurion appeared before the Peel commission. The royal commission's mandate was the investigation of the reasons for the Arab Revolt going on in the Land of Israel, but Ben Gurion declared: " The Bible is our mandate, the Bible we wrote in our language, Hebrew, in this very land. That is our mandate."

The Gaza envelope is our mandate. Gaza, too, is our mandate. Gush Etzion and Jerusalem are our mandate, as are the hills of Hevron, the Jordan Valley and every site all over this land. The Bible is our mandate. This land is our land. We have suffered a terrible blow, but we will rise up from the dust and ashes once again, with even more strength and resolve.

Translated from the Hebrew weekly Besheva.