Sivan 20, 5769, 6/12/2009
My fellow countrymen,
Yesterday, on the holy day of Shabbat, worshipping at a synagogue close to my Jerusalem home, I listened intently to the weekly Torah portion. It tells the story of 12 spies, sent by Moses, to study Eretz Yisrael and its residents, prior to the Israelites entering into the Land.
The end is quite well known; Ten of the spies opposed any attempt to conquer the land, saying that it was filled with giants and well-fortified cities and walls. Only two men, Joshua and Kalev had the courage to reject the spy’s slander, and called on all the Israelites to push forward, saying that of course they could conquer Israel.
As a result of the people’s rejection of the land G-d decreed that they should spend forty years in the desert. Almost all those alive at that time, died before entering the land and were not privileged to see the Promised Land. The ten spies died horribly tragic deaths. Joshua and Kalev were rewarded for their faith and were later leaders in Eretz Yisrael. And of course, the same day when the Israelites rejected Eretz Yisrael, Jews have suffered through the centuries. That day is Tisha b’Av, the date when the first and second Temples were destroyed.
I have also witnessed, in our generation, the results of forfeiting Eretz Yisrael.
Following Menachem Begin’s relinquishment of Sinai and the destruction of Yamit and other communities in the south, Israel immediately faced a deadly war in the north. Begin later resigned and lived for almost a decade in isolation.
When Ariel Sharon abandoned Gush Katif to our enemies, and destroyed those communities, uprooting loyal citizens from their homes, we were forced to deal with two wars, from the north and from the south. Former Prime Minister Sharon has been in a coma for years. Most of the leaders directly involved with the Gush Katif fiasco have been disgraced, such as former army chief of staff Dan Halutz and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and many others.
And of course, I cannot forget to mention the fate of Yitzhak Rabin, following initiating and signing of the Oslo Accords.
Ehud Barak agreed to a Palestinian state throughout almost all of Judea and Samaria. As did Ehud Olmert. Events speak for themselves.
In truth, I myself had to deal with the same fate. Following my erroneous and fatal decision to divide Hebron, abandoning most of the city to Arafat, and my subsequent signing of the Wye accords, I was defeated at the polls by a very wide margin. I also had to deal with personal challenges, having been investigated several times by the police for crimes that never occurred.
I have come to a realization that, whatever the price, Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, including Judea and Samaria, is an intrinsic element of our people. Our Land is a
G-d -given gift to our people, and it is not ours to give away, to anyone, at any time, for any price.
Of course, peace is a Divinely defined ideal; but only when peace is real, not phony. Since the Olso Accords were signed, almost 2,000 Jews have been killed in terror attacks, murdered in cold blood, by the very people who were supposed to be at peace with the State of Israel.
We have witnessed to formation of a new terror-entity on our southern border, which continues to fire rockets into our country. We still have no assurances that Hamas will not eventually control the Arab populations in Judea and Samaria, as they have taken over Gaza. Israel will not lend a hand to formation of another terror state on our eastern border.
I am very aware of demands to find a national home for the Palestinians.
First, it should be reiterated: the State of Jordan, which was created by the British after World War Two, has a population which is 80% Palestinian; that is 80% of the population is identical to the ‘palestinians’ living in Judea and Samaria. It should be recalled that Jordan ruled the west bank of the Jordan River from 1950 until 1988.
Very clearly, Jordan is a Palestinian state and can and should be recognized as such. Any Arabs living in Judea and Samaria who do desire, should be able to receive Jordanian citizenship.
As for the Arabs in Gaza: it would only be natural for Gaza to be absorbed by the State of Egypt. I believe that the issues facing us are international, and should be addressed by all nations of the world, including the Egyptians. Egypt, having received the Sinai from Israel, should be an active participate in the continuing peace process. Therefore, Israel is volunteering any and all assistance to green the Sinai desert, thereby provided both food and employment for tens and hundreds of thousands of Gazans.
Peace is not, and cannot be dependent on any one country or culture. All must play a role in bringing real peace to the world. Therefore, we expect the Arab world, the European Union, the Russians, and the United States, as well as member countries of the United Nations, to partake in funding and implementing this plan, which will allow the Palestinians to live as free citizens of their countries, without continuing to endanger the State of Israel, and without forcing Israel to divide its holy land.
Sivan 20, 5769, 6/12/2009