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Monday, September 14, 2009

The point of no return?

The New York Times continues to live in a dream world, gleefully awaiting the day that a Judenrein 'Palestinian state' will be formed in Judea and Samaria.
There are 300,000 settlers in the West Bank (another 200,000 Israeli Jews live in East Jerusalem) and they are not monolithic. A third are politically and socially indistinguishable from most of Israel and moved there for suburban-style housing and close-knit communities. Another third are ultra-Orthodox and do not consider themselves settlers or Zionists, wanting only to live together in an appropriate environment somewhere in Israel.

The remaining 100,000 are ideologically (and, most of them, religiously) committed to staying. They have a fairly uniform view of the situation: most believe that there is no such thing as a Palestinian nation; that if the world wants a state for Palestinians, it should set it up next door in Jordan; that all of the West Bank, which they call by the biblical name Judea and Samaria, is a central part of the Jewish homeland; and that Arabs will do everything they can to destroy Israel in any borders, so staying in the West Bank is a matter not only of history but of security.


While the ultra-Orthodox say life comes above all else, ideological settlers say that holding onto what they consider the entire land of Israel is the essence of life; through redemption of this land comes Jewish salvation.

But half of them live in settlement blocs close to the boundary with Israel that are likely to remain in a deal involving land swaps with the Palestinians. Ideological settlers who live deep in the West Bank number about 50,000.

Taking what they say at face value suggests no room for compromise. One of the five principles of a radical organization called Mishmeret Yesha says: “Every grain of sand and every stone in the Land of Israel are holy to the nation of Israel. No authority is allowed to relinquish any portion of the land.”
The Times claims it is the 'militant settlers' (I call them revenants) who are making the age of Aquarius impossible by preventing the creation of a 'Palestinian' state. But even the Times admits that most Israelis believe that the Gaza 'disengagement' (which I call the expulsion - I guess that would make the Times call me a 'militant') was a disaster and no agreement with the 'Palestinians' is in the offing:
The military evacuation order delivered to the 8,000 settlers in Gaza four years ago hangs today in the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem. The deadline it bears for leaving is Aug. 14, or in the Hebrew calendar of that year, the Ninth of Av, a fast day associated with a string of calamities in Jewish history.

The settlers call the withdrawal the “expulsion.” The new museum, visited by scores daily, contains keys from destroyed houses, poetry of mourning and bottles of sand from the abandoned shores of Gaza. The museum’s theme is a conscious echo of the post-Holocaust theme of the entire country: Never Again.

In fact, most Israelis now see the evacuation as having been a disaster. It led to the Hamas takeover in Gaza and increased rocket fire at Israel. And the former settlers, many of whom vowed to stay together as communities, have fared poorly.

Their advocates say that only about one in 10 is in permanent housing. Some 3,000 are still living in cramped mobile homes in a desolate, temporary neighborhood north of Gaza. This makes talk of another, larger removal of settlers from the West Bank seem a cruel fantasy to some — it could bring rockets to within range of its major population centers and lead to tens of thousands being in homeless limbo.
Writing in YNet last week, Sever Plocker argued that it's too late for a 'two-state solution.'
The evacuation of 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and their absorption in Israel cost taxpayers NIS 10 billion. Those interested in turning back time and evacuating Israelis from the areas beyond the 1967 borders would have to invest NIS 600 billion for that end. An unreal figure.

Without the Palestinians grasping the process, and without most of Israeli citizens giving it some thought, the areas beyond the 1967 borders have become the main absorption area for new Israeli citizens: New immigrants from the former Soviet Union, young Jerusalemites, haredim facing economic distress, etc. The “territories” served as Israel’s territorial backbone, and played this role with great success.

Israel’s Leftist camp believes that it has the upper hand, referring as ultimate proof to Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau’s declaration in favor of a Palestinian state, albeit with some conditions. Yet the Left is wrong: While it was engaged in the futile “diplomatic process,” the active Rightist camp, with the backing and assistance of all of Israel’s governments with the exception of one, engaged in developing Jewish settlements in the territories.

Half a million Jews beyond the Green Line constitute the point of no return. The talk about a “construction freeze” or “construction suspicion” at certain settlements are a joke and an insurance policy for the leaders – in Israel, in Palestine, and in the world – who know deep in their hearts that the decision had been made.
At today's exchange rates, NIS 600 billion would be about $160 billion. Who is going to pay all that money? There are only two ways in which that payment could theoretically be reduced. One is to reach a territorial compromise that would leave most of the Jews in Judea and Samaria within the truncated State of Israel. But with all of the platitudes about how 'everyone knows' that we need an 'exchange' of territory (never a compromise), the 'Palestinians' have given no indication they will ever agree to an exchange or a compromise. Their demands have not changed since 1993 - I would argue and most Israelis would agree that their demands are no different than the Arab demands of the 1920's: They are not willing to live with a Jewish state in this region. The Times mentions that argument but dismisses the existential argument as being the exclusive province of the revenants when numerous surveys in Israel show that the majority of our population now accepts that our conflict with the Arabs is existential.

The second way to reduce the number of Jews who would need to find new homes would be to allow Jews to remain in Judea and Samaria once the 'Palestinian state' is formed. No one has ever provided a cogent explanation for why the 'Palestinian state' must be Judenrein (free of Jews) but the Jewish state can have a population that is 20% Arab and is additionally expected to absorb some indeterminate number of 'Palestinian refugees.' Who is going to pay for expelling all those Jews from Judea and Samaria and moving all those 'Palestinians' (the cost of which we have not even considered) in? Barack Obama?

But most importantly, Jews have an historic right to Judea and Samaria. It is our heartland and our heritage. Our forefathers lived in Hebron, the Tabernacle was located in Shilo, and Jews received blessings and curses from God on Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival - all of which are in Judea and Samaria. Our matriarch Rachel is buried in Bethlehem and the righteous Joseph of the bible is buried in Shchem (Nablus).

I could go on, but you all get the idea. Our claim is at least as good as the 'Palestinians' claim to these lands. In fact, it is far better.


At 5:58 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...


The reason that Judea/Samaria is always considered territory to be ethnically cleansed of Jews is that if Jews lived there without the protection of the IDF, they would likely be slaughtered.

This of course means that 'peace in our time' is an utter illusion.

The only way 'two states' could work is if Jews who live in Judea/Samaria would not be lambs to the slaughter. But no one is willing to concede that central point.

At 9:54 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - that was my point when I brought up Sever Plocker's article last week. Israel's economy would be bankrupted by any future expulsions. And who is going to repay to resettle half a million Jews? Israel still has not found a solution for Jews forcibly uprooted from the Gush Katif. Yes, Ariel Sharon paid the price for ordering it on Tisha B'Av. His fate is a Divine warning to Israel's leaders not to harm Jews. Let's hope they get it.


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