Right-wing group starts 7-day vigil against possible withdrawal from West Bank
'Women in Green' gather in front of Netanyahu's residence to implore him to maintain total sovereignty over disputed territories.
Prof. Arieh Eldad speaking to Women in Green Photo: Courtesy
Incensed that portions of the West Bank may be transferred to Palestinian sovereignty following US-led peace negotiations, a woman's NGO commenced a seven-day "vigil" in front of the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on Sunday.
The vigil, protesting the so-called "Kerry Plan," which is anticipated to demand partial withdraw from the disputed areas, is sponsored by Women in Green, a grassroots NGO dedicated to the preservation of all land acquired by Israel after the 1967 War.
As a steady drizzle fell from a grey sky, co-founder Nadia Matar framed US Secretary of State John Kerry's expected stipulation that Israel surrender any of the regions in stark terms.
"We're here to remind [Netanyahu] why giving up Samaria, Judea and the Jordan Valley is national suicide – not only from a security point of view, but also morally," she said, adding that the women will continue to gather at the site from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Saturday.
"If he gives up any of these territories, it's like giving up part of your heart and mind," continued Matar. "You can no longer live without them, and Judea and Samaria are that to the Jewish people."
Unfazed by intense international pressure – including the burgeoning boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, demanding Israel withdraw from the regions in question – Matar said no amount of international pressure should force Netanyahu's hand.
"This BDS is a joke because Europeans need us more than we need them," she said. "They need Israeli hi-tech, Israeli minds and Israeli inventions, so we must stand firm and not be intimidated by it."
Matar added that the vigil is not meant as a protest against Netanyahu, so much as a reminder of the indispensable nature of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
"As mothers, to us it's like giving away a child," she continued, "and like lionesses, we will fight for our cubs. We will remind Bibi that he used to talk like us, and maybe we can get him to get his backbone back."
A few meters away, Shifra Hoffman held a sign reading: "The G-d of Israel Said to Settle and Build Our Land… The PM of Israel Said to Freeze Our Land. Bibi…G-d Always Wins!!!"
"I'm here because I'm a Jewish daughter who believes that the Almighty brought us back after 2,000 years," said Hoffman. "And the torah forbids anyone to give an inch of our sacred soil – especially to our enemies!"
Moreover, Hoffman contended that such a concession is naïve, considering that Palestinian terrorism has continued unabated following similar such withdrawals.
"There will never be peace by two people claiming the same land where one has shown that terror is their method of cleansing the land of Jews," she said. "Is this the reason why the Jewish people suffered crusades, the inquisitions, pogroms and the unspeakable Holocaust? To live under Palestinian rule?"
Renee Margolis echoed Hoffman's sentiments.
"We want to encourage and strengthen Bibi's hand in holding onto all portions of Israel and not to give it away for a peace process that the Arab's don't believe in and don't want," she said. "If we give away these territories we will have no way to defend ourselves."
Indeed, Naomi Perlman said the rationale behind keeping Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty runs "much deeper than politics."
"At the root of this is Jewish pride and Jewish rights to the land," she said.
Meanwhile, Jeff Daube, director of the Zionist Organization of America's Israel office, said total Israeli sovereignty over the territories must remain non-negotiable.
"There's no way that anything but a sovereign Israeli presence in these areas can ensure our safety and our integrity," he said.
"Even in pre-1967 Israel, without a sovereign presence in Samaria and Judea, our legal, political, religious, moral and spiritual claims to Israel will begin to crumble."
Vigil in Front of Prime Minister's House for Judea and Samaria
Vigil in front of Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem to support annexation of Judea and Samaria, rally to feature MKs.