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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
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Begin’s Palestinian ‘Genie;’ It All Started With ‘Autonomy’

The supposedly pro-Jewish rights in the Land of Israel Menachem Begin's revolutionary "give the Arabs autonomy" policy opened the door to the security and diplomatic Hell that the State of Israel now suffers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem on March 31, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem on March 31, 2014
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO / Flash 90

Way back when, almost thirty-eight years ago, when Israel’s great electoral “Mahapach,” electoral upheaval of 1977 happened and Menachem Begin’s Likud was elected to power the very first time after twenty-nine years of Labor rule, absolutely nobody expected davka him to make revolutionary policy decisions that would facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian State in the very heart of the Historic Biblical Jewish Land of Israel. Sorry for that very long opening sentence…

Yes, the supposedly Right, pro-Jewish rights in the Land of Israel Menachem Begin’s revolutionary “give the Arabs autonomy” policy opened the door to the security and diplomatic Hell that the State of Israel now suffers.

Until Begin began his policy of withdrawing from Land liberated in the 1967 Six Days War, today’s scenario was totally unthinkable.

While Menachem Begin had been in the Opposition, the Leftist Labor leadership never dared proposing withdrawing from any of the Land and certainly not destroying Jewish communities. But just over a decade after Israel’s totally miraculous victory in the 1967 Six Days War, Begin not only handed Egypt’s Sadat the Sinai on a silver platter, he turned thousands of Israelis into refugees, giving away their homes, communities, businesses and farms.

I’ll never forget the bombastic statements he made afterwards claiming that this decision will preserve Israeli rights to the rest of the Land of Israel and his promises that the new communities established in places like Gush Katif were guaranteed as permanent and Israeli. But we all know what happened since then. Begin’s successors in the Likud, Arik Sharon and Ehud Olmert came up with Disengagement and destroyed those very “replacement” communities in Gush Katif.

Even worse, the pressure on Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and neighborhoods in Jerusalem have only gotten stronger.

Evil Genie Another part of Begin’s revolutionary policy, giving the Arabs “autonomy” has already turned them into a de facto and in many cases now a de jure country called Palestine.

That Palestine “genie” has grown and can’t be controlled. It will take a very brave and strong Israel to destroy it. Unfortunately, I don’t see any Israeli politicians with the guts to do it.

Visit Shiloh Musings.  / Batya Medad

About the Author: Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.

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3 Responses to “Begin’s Palestinian ‘Genie;’ It All Started With ‘Autonomy’”

  1. You can’t be generous and reasonable with Arabs, for them it’s the language of weakness. The only language they understand Is brute force.

  2. You can’t be generous and reasonable with Arabs, for them it’s the language of weakness. The only language they understand Is brute force.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is terribly unfair to Menachem Begin, and false too.

    You wrote: "I’ll never forget the bombastic statements he made afterwards claiming that this decision will preserve Israeli rights to the rest of the Land of Israel…". Here is your confusion, and I wonder if it's deliberate. Sinai is NOT part of the Land of Israel. That was why Menachem Begin agreed to withdraw from Sinai in return for an agreement with Egypt, because he was NOT giving up any part of the Land of Israel, and he never did.

    I also suggest that the move to give "autonomy" to the Arabs began several years before Begin became prime minister. In the early 1970s the ruling Labor party allowed — and indeed encouraged — Arab towns and cities to have elections to determine their mayors and other civic leaders. When the PLO candidates "convinced" the other candidates to drop out of the races, the PLO people became the legal spokesmen for all the Arab areas.

    Finally, I notice a growing tendency by right-wingers not just to criticize Begin but to actually demonize him. In light of the facts, and the principles that he adhered to throughout his life, I find this inexplicable.

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