One of the favorite lines heard from Israel’s Left is that they want to “separate” from the Palestinians, or, lately, to “divorce” them. This may sound like a good idea, but it is a poor analogy. In the usual divorce, one of the former partners moves away. They don’t try to continue living in the same house.
The separation or divorce that they are talking about is the same old thing: they want Israel to withdraw from most or all of Judea and Samaria, and allow the creation of a Palestinian state. Whatever you call it, the consequences will be the same: the advancement to the next stage of Yasser Arafat’s “Phased Plan” for the destruction of Israel, and a return to what Abba Eban called “Auschwitz borders.”
The plan calls for the establishment of an “independent combatant national authority” that will control any territory “liberated” from the Zionists; then this authority will unify all the “Arab liberation movements” and ultimately coordinate attacks from a “union of confrontation countries” to complete the “liberation of all Palestinian territory.”
The phased plan, from 1974, sounds quaint today. There is no mention of Hamas, Hezbollah, or Iran. Indeed, Iran – ruled by the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi – had good relations with Israel back then. It includes a gesture to Jordan, which still maintained claims on Judea and Samaria at that time.
But the physical geography of our country and its strategic significance haven’t changed. There is still high ground overlooking our population centers from Judea and Samaria. There is still the Jordan valley, whose western slope guards our eastern border. The players have changed somewhat, and the military threats have become more sophisticated. Although the IDF has improved its capabilities, so have our enemies improved theirs. But the land is still the land. Hills are still hills; passes between them are still strategic.
The “international community,” whose will is expressed by the UN, is stuck in 1974, still wanting to reverse the outcome of the 1967 war. Maybe some of the practical reasons are different – a little less Arab oil blackmail and a little more desire to enter the Iranian market – but its hypocritical concern for the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs still hides its fundamental belief that a sovereign Jewish state should not exist.
It wasn’t always thus. Right after the First World War, the victorious Western powers for a short time were prepared to set aside a portion of the former Ottoman Empire that had already been developed by Zionist immigration, and which just happened to be the historic home of the Jewish people, for settlement by the exiled remnants of those people. This was seen as a win-win situation for everyone involved: the Zionists would get their homeland, the Europeans would (ultimately) get rid of their Jews, and the British – who would hold the Mandate for the sake of the Jews – would get a convenient place to stand to protect the flank of the Suez Canal, and maybe to build a railroad from the port of Haifa to the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire, India.
Almost immediately, the British began reneging on their responsibilities toward the Jews, limiting Jewish immigration and encouraging local Arabs in their desire to see the whole Mandate become an Arab state. Maybe they thought an Arab state would be easier to control, or maybe they just liked the Arabs better than the Jews. Later, as the gates of Europe began closing for Jews trying to escape Hitler, their increasingly ferocious efforts to prevent Jewish immigration to Eretz Yisrael became one of the moral low points in the dark history of the period.
The 1948 War of independence and the 1967 Six Days war – a war of aggression intended to destroy the Jewish state – finally established Jewish control of the all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan. The 1973 Yom Kippur war proved that even under the worst conditions, the newly expanded state was defensible.
The Arab nations were soundly defeated, but unfortunately the conflict became a proxy for the Cold War between the West and the USSR. Under the tutelage of the Soviet KGB, the Arabs developed a multi-faceted approach including terrorism, Soviet-supported diplomacy, and a sophisticated propaganda effort using revolutionary third-world rhetoric. After the Yom Kippur War, the Saudi-controlled oil weapon was deployed, and as a result the formerly apolitical (but very powerful) international corporate community quietly joined the vociferous Left in its embrace of the “Palestinian cause” (i.e., the replacement of Israel with an Arab state).
Still, after its 1982 defeat in Lebanon, Arafat’s PLO – the ideological heir of the British-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who collaborated with Hitler – should have faded into obscurity. But then Israel, under the guidance of the same Left that today claims to want a divorce from the Palestinians, fired a nuclear cannon into its own foot – the Oslo Accords.
Suddenly, the Phased Plan came back to life, with the creation – by Israel – of the very “Palestinian National Authority” called for in Arafat’s original plan!
Today Soviet Communism is gone, replaced by the more pragmatic and flexible (but still dangerous) Putinism, the Saudis are moderating their attacks on Israel in the hope that Israel will deal with Iran for them, and the Arab nations are in no condition to wage war. The center of anti-Zionism has moved to Tehran, from where it operates an octopus of terrorist proxies to fight the Jewish state.
But despite all the changes, what should have been settled in 1967 is still questioned today.
The international community is still pressuring us to reverse the results of the 1967 war. And thanks to the deluded, gulled, pressured, or traitorous architects of Oslo – take your pick – we are on our way to doing that. The vicious PLO is back, ruling the Palestinian Authority. The first phase of Arafat’s plan to finally liquidate the Jewish state is complete.
There are spiritual and historical reasons that Judea and Samaria should be in Jewish hands. But whether or not they are important to you, there are also brute facts of geography: without control of the high ground of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, the state cannot be defended. We must not go back to Auschwitz borders.
I think a divorce from the Palestinians is a good idea. But I have a different property settlement in mind: we keep the house and they move out.