JUDEA AND SAMARIA: WHY THE JEWISH SETTLEMENTS SHOULD REMAINShlomoh Sherman
July 6, 2003
There is now increased talk about the Jewish settlements on the so-called "west bank", which Jewish Israeli settlers call Judea and Samaria. Western and pro-Palestinian thought is that they are a hinderance to peace. Once these settlements are removed, so the wisdom goes, peace can be established between the Jews of Israel and their gentile "neighbors" living in the Land of Israel. I do not think that removal of these settlements will bring peace. There is no real will to peace among the Palestinians except the peace of the dead - the Jewish dead.
But that fact is not my only reason for thinking that the Jewish settlements ought not be removed. There are several other considerations, at least two, which I wish to discuss.
The first concerns itself with the mood, temperment, and general antipathy that Arabs in general feel toward Jews, and the second concerns itself with a more positive aspect, namely the ongoing Jewish presence throughout ALL the Land of Israel.
Firstly, the animosity that Arabs feel for Jews. Back in 1948, the Land of Israel, which the gentiles call Palestine, after the ancient Philistines, and which was named Palestine by the Romans for no other reason than to insult the Jews, after they captured the Land, made it a Roman province, was to be divided two two states, a Jewish one and an Arab one. Although all of the Land had been promised to the Jews by the British, by the time the Holocaust was over, the Jews agreed to settle for half the land as their country. The Arabs did not agree to it even though the United Nations called for two states there. The Arabs, in fact, declared open war on the Jews of LOI and stated that their intent was to "drive the Jews into the sea."
After four major wars of Israeli Jews against surrounding Arab countries, with devastating defeats suffered by the aggressive Arabs, peace was finally achieved between Israel and 2 of its Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.
Actually not peace but rather peace treaties were achieved. Egypt's Sadat decided to make peace with Israel after it became clear to him that, even with Soviet help, he would lose any war with Israel, and also partly out of fear that Menachim Begin would lead Israel in a war of revenge against Egypt for having launched the YOM KIPPUR war. Jordan later made peace with Israel because it became apparent that the Jewish state was here to stay and that by making peace with Israel, the Jordanians would endear themselves with their patron, the United States of America.
What does this so-called peace with Egypt and Jordan look like after more than a decade? It looks pale to me. Opportunites for joint ventures to develop the natural resources of the area are passed by. Why? Because the average Egyptian and the average Jordanian has no love for the Jewish state. The average Egyptian and Jordanian feels that peace was forced upon them.
Yes, a kind of peace has been in existence between Israel and these two Arab countries. But as has been pointed out by a keen observer [source unknown], there are two kinds of peace in the world. One kind is the peace between the United States of America and Canada, and the second kind is the peace between the United States of America and the former Soviet Union. Which kind of peace exists between Israel and the 2 Arab states with whom she has signed peace treaties, the Canadian peace or the Soviet peace? The situation speaks for itself.
Since therefore, this is also the type of peace that can be expected between Israel and any type of Palestinian country that comes into existence, it would be a peace based on nothing more than the Arab feeling that for the present, and I repeat, for the present, "nothing can be done about Israel's existence or its borders."
Since this is the case, Israel has to remain strong, with the upper hand, in all ways, including logistically strong and geographically strong. Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank, slice into the heart of Israel like a knife, almost cutting Israel in two. In the event of a war, Arab armies, that a potential Palestinian state could invite in, could cut Israel in two at the waist with very little effort. Therefore Israel cannot continue to exist, under any so-called peace solution, within its pre-1967 borders.
Jewish settlements within Judea and Samaria help to ensure that Israel will not continue to have such a narrow waist as it did when it was attacked on 3 sides by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in 1967, especially since now a potential atatcking army would attack from within the geograpahic hole in Israel's midsection created by the invading Jordanian army in 1948.
In short, a Palestinian political entity cannot be trusted to not become a Palestinian military entity, a knife continually pointed at Israel's bowels. Jewish settlements inside of Palestine can discourage such an entiity from foolish military decisions.
Thus far, the negative protective rationale for Jewish settlements remaining in Judea and Samaria. Now to the second, more positive rationale.
When Israel was created in 1948 as a JEWISH state, there lived several thousands of Palestinian Arabs. Once the state was created, Israel turned these Palestinians into Arab Israelis with full citizenship rights. They were not asked to leave the borders of Israel even though it was known that they presented an ongoing threat as a fifth column because of their kinship with the enemy Arab states. Israel has always treated these gentiles within her midst fairly. They do not even have to join the army to fight against their Arab brothers. That is an expression of Israeli sentitivity.
If a Palestinian political entity is created, there is no reason for Jews already living there to leave. Menachim Begin put it best in his visit to America in the 1980s. In a speech given before the American public he said, "If a Jew can live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, then he can live in Bethlehem, Israel. If a Jew can live in Jericho, Long Island, then he can live in Jericho, Israel.
Jews cannot allow the Palestinians to do what the Nazi Germans attempted to do, that is, make their country JUDENREIN. That is not acceptable. Jews should and will contrinue to live in Palestine as honest citizens, as Jewish Palestinians.
One more issue on the positive side. Eventually, the Jewish settlements will grow into towns and the towns into cities, and the cities will be economically productive and help support the Palestinian economy. These Jews will pay taxes to the Palestinian government and perhaps even enter the Palestinian army as soldiers to protect Palestine against threats from other agressive Arab countries.
The positive possibilities of Jewish settlements within a Palestinian state are limitless given good will on both sides. Withdrawal of Jews from Palestine will produce nothing positive and will in fact aid in negative further segregation and alienation between Jews and gentiles in a Land big enough to be shared by both.
ADDENDUM: July 9,2003
The presence of many ethnic groups adds to the strengthening of democratic values. It would be good for any Palestinian state to have resident as many ethnic groups as possible, just as Israel does. The additon of a Jewish ethnic group alongside of Muslims and Christians in Palestine can only be beneficial to the welbeing of a democratic state.
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