Hevron Conference tackles applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria
By Josh Hasten
Several hundred people from around the country along with members of Knesset, educators, and journalists gathered in Hebron on Thursday July 21st 2011, for a one day conference exploring the possibilities of Israel asserting sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The event, organized by the Women in Green organization, featured lectures by Israeli experts in the fields of politics, academia, security, demographics, and economics, who all made the case for Israel to annex the areas acquired in the Six-Day-War. The events’ speakers also addressed the future status of the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, should Israel take such measures.
Jerusalem Post correspondent and Latma founder Caroline Glick suggested that Israel assume control over Judea and Samaria similarly to the way Israel annexed the Golan and the Eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem – “quietly” without drawing the world’s attention. She stressed that regardless of whether Israel annex those areas slowly over time, or all at once, either way, we will pay the price both diplomatically and militarily (arms funding ed.), so it’s best to annex all at once. Glick said that most Israelis understand that future withdrawals from Judea and Samaria are a recipe for the destruction of the entire country, citing Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza from 2005, which subsequently led to rocket attacks and wars as the ultimate proofs. Glick was also critical of the right in Israel for remaining quiet while talk of establishing a Palestinian State is rampant (which would be another terror state she is convinced), while not presenting other rational and realistic options.
In regard to the economics of why annexation makes sense, Makor Rishon Economic Correspondent Eran Bar-Tal talked about the economic practicalities, of officially joining Judea and Samaria with the rest of the country. Currently he said, people focus on doing business “North to South” in this country, when in reality it is much more practical to focus on “East in West” with communities in Judea and Samaria just ten minutes away from Kfar Saba and Israel’s other economic hubs. He also said that the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria would benefit economically from such an arrangement being enveloped under Israel’s umbrella citing the practical and financial detriment for Israel currently relying on foreign workers.
MK Aryeh Eldad focused his talk on the fact that a vacuum has been created here in Israel where the Arabs are making claims – an end to “occupation,” and a demand for self-determination, while no leaders in Israel respond by clearly stating that the “Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.” While the Arabs Eldad says, demand sovereignty, we as Jews, fail time and time again to demand our legitimate sovereignty over all of Israel. Eldad believes the ultimate solution is to annex Judea and Samaria and give the Arabs living there full Jordanian citizenship.
MK Tzipi Hotovely said that she favors a staged approach to “implementing sovereignty” over Judea and Samaria (she is against the term ‘annexation’ since she feels that the term implies that you are lacking a connection to the area.). Hotovely feels that the biggest issue is what to do in regard to the Arab populations in Judea and Samaria. Therefore, the best approach she feels is imposing sovereignty firstly over the Jewish communities in area ‘C’, since only 100,000 Arabs live there, which can be a very important experiment in restoring civil control over the entire area, and later on finding a legitimate solution in regard to the Arab population. She also finds it logical for almost 600,000 thousand Jews in Judea and Samaria to declare their sovereignty, just as Israel, which has a population of six million Jews, declared independence is a sea of hundreds of millions of Arabs.
Arab and Middle East expert Professor Rafi Yisraeli admitted that if he felt a two-state-solution would bring peace then he wouldn’t oppose such a plan, but since he feels strongly that it won’t he is against. Yisraeli said that the main problem is that if you give the 3.5 million Arabs in Judea, Samaria (and Gaza), a State you are not solving the greater “Palestinian” issue because the other 6.5 “Palestinians” in the Middle East would also demand a solution and hold Israel accountable for their current status. He added that while he wasn’t against negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords, the reason they failed is that while the Arabs during those talks spoke of “the right to self determination,” Israel never demanded recognition as a Jewish State at that point, or our own right to self-determination. In other words while Israel was willing to recognize the PLO as a partner, the Arabs never recognized the plight of Zionism. He concluded that if Israeli Arabs are interested in joining a future “Palestinian” entity they would have to relinquish their Israeli citizenship, but for Israel that wouldn’t be the end of the world, since that would increase a Zionist majority in the Knesset.
Ambassador Yoram Ettinger focused his words on debunking the myth that Jews in Israel including Judea and Samaria will become a minority anytime soon. Ettinger said that despite the claim that ‘time is against Israel’ in reaching a deal with the Arabs because of demographics, the opposite is in fact true since factors indicate that Jews in Israel will remain a clear majority. Ettinger said that the Jewish birth rate is in fact increasing while the Arab rate is decreasing. He also cited an increase in Arab emigration to other countries particularly Arabs living under PA control. Ettinger also documented the fraudulent methods in which the PA conducts their census, and said that those skewed numbers are what the world bases their false claim that Jews in Israel will become a minority. He concluded by talking about the importance of Aliyah to Israel to further bolster our clear Jewish majority.
Dr. Yitzhak Klein, the Director of the Israel Policy Center stressed the time to assert sovereignty is now since negotiations have failed and the Oslo period is officially over. He agreed with Caroline Glick’s assessment that the majority of Israelis do not want to make any more concessions, which will only lead to an increase in terror.
The conference was summarized by Dr. Gabi Avital Chairman, of Professors for a Strong Israel who insisted that the shared message from all the event’s speakers, despite differences in strategy for implementation, is the fact that the ‘Land for peace’ mantra has proven to be disastrous, and that the only way towards a real peace is for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria.
Conference organizers – Women in Green heads Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover thanked everyone for attending, particularly those who arrived from Tel-Aviv and other places on the other side of the “Green Line”. They stressed the importance of Hevron as the venue for the event since the city of Hevron embodies the foundation of Jewish history in the Land of Israel.