Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
The Levy Report on the settlements in Judea and Samaria was like cold water on a parched landscape. The committee members who drafted the report and dared to publicly say what every child in Israel can and should know deserve credit and appreciation. The report factually states that there never was an occupation in Judea and Samaria because no entity there was ever occupied.
In the 1948 War of Independence Jordan forcefully took over Judea and Samaria. After World War I, the Commonwealth of Nations transferred the mandate on the territory to Great Britain so that the Jews could establish a national home in what was slated to become Israel. Later, the Jordanians refuted any claims of sovereignty over the territory. Thus, when the IDF captured Judea and Samaria from King Hussein, who didn’t even pretend to be its owner, it was hardly an occupation.
The local Arabs, who have suddenly invented the Palestinian nation, cannot claim that the territory was captured from them. First, they are the ones who started the War of Independence, dragging the regular Arab armies into the fighting. According to international law, whoever initiates a war cannot claim territory that they lost during the fighting. But what is even more important is that there never was national Palestinian sovereignty – not in Judea and Samaria or in any place on the globe. In the miraculous 1967 Six-Day War, the IDF liberated Judea and Samaria from the Jordanian army – not from the residents of Ramallah.
Those of us who have unfortunately become accustomed to the State toeing the brazen and false, radical leftist line – the Talia Sasson Report, for example – might see the Levy Report as a sign of the Messianic era. However, respect and appreciation for the report’s authors and Prime Minister Netanyahu for requesting it notwithstanding, the logical conclusion is missing from its findings.
It is difficult to know if the Levy Report heralds real change or if it is just part of the zigzag syndrome that we have been witnessing recently. It is very important to stop the damage wrought upon the settlement enterprise by the Sasson Report. But the fact that the Levy Report is not coupled with positive measures means that the strong forces that have been pushing Israel into harmful declarations and deeds for years can continue their activities, undisturbed. The report does say that Israel is not an occupier, but it doesn’t draw the logical conclusion: This is our land. The report does not recommend the vital next step, namely that Israel must immediately annex all parts of the Land of Israel in our hands. The precedent was Israel’s annexation of all the territory captured by the IDF in 1948 – to a lesser extent in Jerusalem and fully in the Golan Heights.
The following is Israeli law: Every part of the Land of Israel under Israeli control at any time automatically becomes part of the territory of the State of Israel.
Since the days of Menachem Begin, the Jewish majority in Israel has received glorious gifts that turned out to be nothing more than fancy wrapping. Begin’s “There will be many more Elon Morehs” turned into the reality of the great retreat from Sinai and the destruction of the Yamit settlements. On one hand, the Likud has built more than any other ruling party. On the other hand, all the destruction and major retreats are also on its resume. Without faith-based leadership for Israel, the Right will necessarily drift leftward – if not in word then in deed.
The Levy Report is another step in the right direction. It is a positive development, along with MK Yariv Levin’s proposed legislation against the High Court dictatorship and MK Miri Regev’s proposals for annexation of Judea and Samaria. While Netanyahu put the brakes on those two proposals, the very fact that they were raised creates a positive cumulative effect.
We must not fool ourselves, though. If tomorrow Mahmoud Abbas turns around and shows willingness for some type of compromise, the entire media will clamor to advance “peace,” full steam ahead. The justice system, security officials and academia will join in to ensure that the new “peace” will get past the public’s healthy skepticism. In this scenario the Levy Report will make no difference, as we march toward another mass destruction.
While there is an important, positive evolution taking place regarding the settlements, what we really need to do is revolutionize our leadership and its ideas. If not, this evolution will end up as another 40 years in the desert and the loss of much that we hold dear.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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