This morning, I came to my office at the press center in Jerusalem at 9:45 a.m. and was greeted with two new dissonant realities within minutes.
An official letter from the Israel Government Lands Authority authorizing our family’s purchase of a home in the city of Efrat, 14 kilometers south of Jerusalem, a city of almost 1800 families, set to expand to 5,000 families, according to the municipal plans that were approved by the government of Israel more than a quarter century ago.
After twenty years of rental, we finally own our home.
Well, there was not much time for sentimentality of owning a home in the state of Israel.
Only minutes after opening the letter, the second reality hit like a ton of bricks.
10:00 a.m. newscast on the Voice of Israel Government Radio News reported that the Israel High Court of Justice had declared that the Israel Government Disengagement Plan, while violating human rights and civil liberties, was legal because Israeli human rights and civil liberties law simply do not apply to Israeli taxpayers and Israeli law abiding citizens who live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – since Israel has not yet annexed these areas. And Efrat is smack in the middle of Judea.
The Israel High Court of Justice therefore declared that Israeli citizens who live in Judea and Samaria have no human rights and no civil liberties. Hence, the silence of organizations such as the Israel Association for Civil Liberties and the Anti Defamation League
In other words, the only place in the world where Jews have no de jure human rights and civil liberties would be in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
This is not the first time that I have heard such a notion.
On July 23rd, 1990, our news agency organized a dialogue between Israeli American Jewish residents of Judea and the US Consul in Jerusalem, Mr. Phillip Wilcox.
During that discussion, the guests from Judea noted the sensitivity of the US government to the human rights and civil liberties of Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
They asked the US consul about human rights of Jews who live in the same areas – given the traditional sensitivity of the US government to human rights and civil liberties in this part of the world.
US Consul Wilcox responded quickly and straightforwardly, and with no emotion:
“If you live where you live, you have no human rights and no civil liberties”
The US consul invoked the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids nations that conquer other lands in war time to settle their citizens in those lands.
Wilcox, consistent to this position, now heads the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, which has as its purpose the eradication of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan and even in the new neighborhoods in Jerusalem that were established by Israel since 1967.
Wilcox’s statement ignored the fact that the San Remo Treaty had been adopted by both the League of Nations and by the United Nations which protected the right of Jews to purchase land and to settle in the Jewish National Homeland, defined as anywhere west of the Jordan River.
Yet 15 years later, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz adopted the precise formula that Wilcox had articulated in 1990 That Israelis have no human rights or civil liberties if they live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, even if they are law abiding and tax paying Israeli citizens.
Even the mainstream Israeli left wing had never held such a dogmatic position, which had been reserved only for the Israel Communist Party and an anti-Zionist organization in Israel known as Matzpen, who had favored unilateral retreat from all areas acquired by Israel in the defensive war of 1967.
Indeed, the man who had spearheaded the “territories for peace” ideology, the late former Israel Army intelligence chief Aharon Yariv, told me that the difference between his coined the 1974 Yariv-Shem Tov peace formula and the attitude of the new left today was that his formula mandated “territories for peace” and NOT “territories before peace”.
Yariv warned that ceding territory without a peace agreement would run the risk of an enemy using that territory as a forward position to attack.
There is only one logical step to take: to initiate a grass roots movement to demand that the government of Israel annex any and all Jewish communities that it has established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the state of Israel. After all, as it says on my Israeli identity card – City: Efrat, Citizenship: Israel. It would only seem logical that the map of Israel would reflect that reality and show Efrat as part of the state of Israel.
The opposition to this call for annexation of Efrat would concern the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Except that there is no Arab clamoring to be annexed to Israel.
The Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza should be free to run their own affairs in their own entity, with no constraints, except on matters of security and education.
The lesson of the Oslo process are that if you arm a PLO entity, they will use those arms against Israel, and that if you grant the PLO an autonomous educational system, they will use those schools to inculcate their children to make war against the Jews and to liberate all of Palestine.
And let us not forget the PLO “Strategy of Phases” which is the bedrock of the PLO ideology, which mandates that the PLO should dismember Israel in stages, in accordance with the 1974 a.m.endment to the PLO Covenant which allowed the PLO to destroy Israel in stages.
Hence, current policy of the government of Israel, as articulated by this weeks Israel Supreme Court decision, simply plays into the hands of the PLO “Strategy of Phases” by declaring Judea, Samaria and Gaza to be extra-territorial to the state of Israel.
To paraphrase what General Aharon Yariv once said, the PLO would only be too happy to use any area abandoned by the state of Israel as a forward position from where they could attack the state of Israel to achieve their unchanged goal: The liberation of all of Palestine and the elimination of any autonomous Zionist presence…