Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Call for Israeli Sovereignty

Another positive point is the Knesset Lobby for Annexation of Judea and Samaria, headed by MK Miri Regev. Regev works tirelessly to further this cause. This week, the Lobby met for the second time and heard a lecture by Allen Baker, a member of the Levy Committee on the outposts, on the findings of the Levy Report and their significance.

Manhigut Yehudit supporter Uri Noy made the following remarks at the session:

1. If a person lives in the same house for forty five years, and all that time avoids clearly stating that the house is his; refuses to put his name on the door and refuses to refute his neighbor's claims that he is a trespasser –eventually even his friends and family will be convinced that the house does not belong to him. Even if they know that the house has been in the family for generations and can quote the deed, they will remain doubtful.

This comparison reflects the strange and problematic situation in which Israel finds itself. Israel has ruled its central regions for forty five years, but has always avoided the most logical step: declaration of sovereignty over our Land.

2. I could speak at length about the historical connection between the Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel, on the borders of the Promised Land, the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference, the Foreign Ministry claim that Judea and Samaria are void of sovereignty and the Levi Report.

But that entire discussion can be boiled down to one word that includes everything and provides an answer for everything: The Torah. The Torah is our legal deed on this Land. It is the only deed and there is no other. The Torah – and not the Holocaust – is the basis for all the international documents recognizing Jewish rights here in the modern era. Without it, we would not have gotten the Balfour Declaration and not its international endorsement at the San Remo Conference. Both of those, by the way, took place before the Holocaust.

The Torah is our deed here, whether we are rightist or leftist, residents of Tel Aviv or settlers, religious or secular. The Torah is the only thing that lends moral justification to the existence of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel today – in the heart of the great Arabian expanse.

This is not a political claim, but an ethical claim. The Torah justifies and also requires Israeli sovereignty and law in all parts of the Land currently in our hands, or land that will return to us in the future. This is the right thing to do; it is the logical, ethical and ultimately necessary course of action.

This is our Land. When something is yours, you declare that fact. It is as much an educational imperative for our children as it is a political or legal necessity.

3. We must be specific: What is needed is not 'annexation of Judea and Samaria', but declaration of sovereignty and Israeli law in all parts of the Land of Israel that are in our hands. This is Israeli law since 1948. The law says that Israeli sovereignty and its laws apply to all territory of the Land of Israel held by the IDF. That is what the members of the first Knesset wisely legislated, and that is what is right and needed today.

This law directs us to apply sovereignty and Israeli law. It was never annulled. As a citizen of the State of Israel, I expect the legislators to abide by the law, even if it is late.

When this law will be applied, the absurd situation in which hundred of thousands of Israelis who live in Israel's heartland, in settlements built by the Israeli government, live outside the borders of the State – will be rectified.

4. Until now I have related to our rights to this Land – rights that do not depend on anything else. But due to the fact that the arguments against annexation relate to our Arab neighbors, I will relate to them as well.

Since the Six Day War, the main argument against annexation of the territories that returned to our hands then, was demography. This argument can be divided into two: One, the impression that we must give Israeli citizenship to enemy populations in our midst. The second: fear of losing the Jewish majority in Israel in the future – even if we do not grant citizenship to the Arabs living here.

The necessity of granting citizenship to a conquered enemy was already refuted in 1967 by the status that Israel gave to the East Jerusalem Arabs, upon which Israeli sovereignty was declared. The Arabs there are not Israeli citizens until this very day. Instead, they enjoy resident status. They cannot vote for the Knesset. We must be able to differentiate between our rights to this Land and the status of a hostile population that fought against us with the declared purpose of destroying us. There is no reason to grant them citizenship or any other type of prize.

As to the fear of losing the Jewish majority, even if we do not grant the Arabs citizenship: For years, Manhigut Yehudit has been encouraging continued emigration of the hostile population to outside Israel's borders. For decades, Israel has invested huge sums of money to daily defend itself from this hostile population. We station tens of thousands of security guards in public places throughout the country; people who could have worked in a productive field, instead. We build long walls on the ground and will soon top them off with an Iron Dome over our heads. We spend a fortune on security services, bullet-proof cars and roads that circumvent Arab towns. In addition, a good portion of the IDF's operations – and no less important – its attention, is spent on protecting us from this hostile population, instead of training for the next war.

If this huge fortune was invested over the years in encouraging the emigration of the hostile population out of Israel, most of them would not be here already. They would have been living in Arab states or countries looking for immigrants – and there are quite a few of those. We would be living in our Land with true security; not security that is dependent on a huge daily investment to protect us.
How would annexation affect our relations with our neighbors over the border? The immediate significance of annexation of Judea and Samaria would be a war to re-conquer Area A. Annexation of all parts of the Land of Israel in our hands now or in the future as a permanent feature of Israeli policy would not require immediate military action. It also does not contradict our desire to live peacefully with our neighbors.

This policy will augment peace. Our neighbors will not want to exercise violence toward us as they will know that we will not attack them as long as they are peaceful. However, if they instigate a fight, Israel will take advantage of the opportunity to re-acquire the parts of our Land that are currently in their hands. In addition to their appreciation of the IDF's strength, this knowledge will enhance Israel's deterrence and maintain peace. 

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