Former Member of Knesset Prof. Eldad presents his political plan for the application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, based on principles that were determined before the establishment of the state: “Sovereignty is not a solution. It is identity”.
Former Member of Knesset Prof. Aryeh Eldad was one of the key speakers at the Sovereignty Youth Movement seminar, which took place at the Oz veGaon preserve and in his remarks, he presented his plan after totally rejecting the definition of the Israeli-Arab conflict as a territorial conflict.
“The most familiar type of wars in history are wars over territory and land”, noted Prof. Eldad, explaining that the assumption made by those who seek political solutions is that in Israel’s case as well, it is a territorial conflict, which requires, by its very nature, a solution whose essence is to divide the land between the two sides; “This seems like the most logical solution. We divide the Land between us and there will be peace…”.
But Eldad states that this is a terrible mistake in analysis, as was proven when more and more political solutions, whose essence was a division of this sort, have failed and led to bloodshed that only worsened with every experience. This is how it was after political plans were presented during the period of the British Mandate and it was so throughout the years of the Oslo plan. “Despite the division of the Land carried out by Churchill by establishing the Hashemite Kingdom east of the Jordan, the Arabs did not understand this and continued the violence and hundreds of Jews were murdered as a result. After the decision of the 29th of November, 6000 Jews were murdered. We don’t have to continue. We must stop and check why dividing the territory doesn’t work”.
“We made a mistake in diagnosis”, states Eldad. “This is not a territorial conflict. No reasonable person believes that if we give the Arabs another kilometer, there will be peace. The bad news is that there will never be peace with the Arabs because it is a religious war. For the Arabs, the Land of Israel is Wakf land and it is forbidden to surrender it. They are commanded to expel the enemy that has invaded it. But we also fight for the Land of Israel because this is our belief and our religion. We know that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel according to the Torah of Israel. When there is conflict between different religions, beliefs or ideologies, there is no peace”.
“Wars over religions or beliefs do not disappear. Anyone who promises peace if we only divide the Land is lying, and now, it is possible to add to this claim that he is lying knowingly, since while in the past it was still possible to think that it was out of naivety, after the intifadas, it is clear that no surrender of the Land of Israel would bring peace”.
Prof. Eldad emphasizes that the aspiration for Israeli sovereignty does not stem from a hope for a security solution or for a shelter for the Jewish People. “We want sovereignty not because other things have failed but because we are sovereign in our Land. What is correct for the Greeks in Greece and for the Italians in Italy is many times more correct for the Jews in the Land of Israel. We are not striving for sovereignty in order to base our governance in the Land of Israel but to express our true identity in the Land of Israel. A Jew is master and sovereign in his Land”.
Eldad also mentioned the historical dispute over Herzl’s kind of Zionism, which seeks to find a solution for the Jewish People’s plight vis-à-vis antisemitism. In this context, he mentioned the words of Abraham “Yair” Stern, the founder of the Lehi underground, who said “I am not a Zionist because the Land of Israel is a value unto itself”. “An Italian would not surrender Sicily, not because he needs it for the defense of the Italian people, but because it is part of Italy and the Americans feel the same way about Texas. It is the homeland and there is no dispute over the homeland. Anyone who surrenders part of the homeland, anyone who doesn’t love the homeland and is committed to every grain of land, is not a patriot, even if it angers a Leftist when I tell him that he is not a patriot”.
Later on in his remarks, Prof. Eldad related to the leftist claim about losing the Jewish majority with the application of sovereignty. “The Left knows that what was done during the Oslo process, land for peace, will not work. Therefore, now, they argue that the Land is ours but if we apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, 2 million Arabs will be annexed to us and we will lose the Jewish majority in the Land of Israel. They tell me that I am not a Zionist because I would bring about the loss of the Jewish majority in the Land of Israel, or that we would be a non-democratic country if we don’t give the Arabs the right to vote and then we would be an Apartheid state”.
The response to the demographic matter, Prof. Eldad finds in the idea brought by the UNESCO committee, which was sent to the mandatory Land of Israel by the UN to propose a vision for the way that the Land of Israel should be managed after the British leave. The proposal created a partition between a Jewish state and an Arab state. “But they see that in the Jewish state there are 600 thousand Jews and 450 thousand Arabs. They thought that this was a large, hostile minority that would not allow the Jewish state to survive. UNESCO proposes that the Arabs in the Jewish state should be residents of the Jewish state and citizens of the Arab state”, says Eldad, noting the precedent of the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem who are defined only as residents and therefore do not vote in parliamentary elections.
“The proposal is for a separation between citizenship and residency. The purists will say that this is not the highest form of democracy and this is correct, but the demand for a perfect democracy in our extremely complex situation, is not logical”, said Eldad, noting that the present Israeli government has proven that “under certain circumstances, the Israeli Left and part of the Right, are willing to surrender their principles for a different goal, that of forming a government, etc.”.
In answer to a question posed by one of the participants as to whether there is a precedent for this situation, Prof. Eldad said that in many large states there is a precedent of a group that is defined as residents but not citizens. This is so for Green-Card holders in the U.S., who number more than 25 million residents. It is also the situation for about five million refugees who fled Syria and Iraq to Germany.
“Sovereignty is necessary and it is a value in and of itself because it expresses our identity and also because all other experiments have failed. There are those who propose leaving the situation as it is, but pressures, both external and internal, are increasing as well as Arab chutzpa. Since we have not dealt with this chutzpa in Judea and Samaria, we find it even within the borders of “little Israel”.
In the course of his remarks, Prof. Eldad mentioned his statement of old, that Jordan is Palestine, a statement which distinguishes him from others on the Right, who believe that we should remember that Transjordan also belongs to the People of Israel. Eldad quoted the words of King Hussein of Jordan, that “Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan and anyone who says otherwise is a traitor”.
Eldad mentions that “Jordan is 75 percent of the mandatory map of Palestine, 70 percent of the residents are Palestinians, as they define themselves”. He also comments that statements of the sort made by the Jordanian King are not heard, so that it will not cause the Palestinians to lose their status as stateless. Defining Jordan as Palestine would invalidate most of their claims.