As part of our efforts to promote Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, we appear before groups throughout the entire country – military preparatory schools, high schools, religious and secular schools. Sometimes these meetings are held in “Judea-Samaria Week” during which youths come to Judea and Samaria to meet with spokesmen from across the political spectrum.
In these meetings we present the youth with our point of view – that the Land of Israel belongs to us; surrendering it is a non-starter; and the two-state solution constitutes an existential, spiritual, ideological, and security threat to our country. We lay out our plan for applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and explain the ramifications.
During the second part of these meetings, a lively discussion always ensues. The youths demand real answers to various questions. One question that almost always comes up goes something like this: “Clearly dividing the Land and establishing a hostile Arab state in its heart would be a disaster, but applying sovereignty is very complex. Therefore, wouldn’t it be better to leave matters as they are? Wouldn’t it be better to maintain the status quo?”
The IDF’s deep and daily involvement in the field prevents terror attacks and ensures that that the overall level of terror is relatively low (despite the deep pain and sorrow over any loss or injury that does occur). It sometimes therefore seems like all is quiet and calm and that we need not endanger ourselves by establishing a Palestinian state. After all, who wants to deal with the question of the status of the Arabs, which we will be forced to address if we apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?
We hear questions of this sort not only from youths, but also from average citizens, public figures, and academics.
We reply by stressing one basic foundational fact. Despite appearances, there is “no status quo.” The calm we see is nothing more than an illusion. We are living next to a ticking time bomb, and every minute that passes, facts are being established on the ground. These new facts lead to yet further facts that are pushing the State of Israel off its land.
Beneath the camouflage of calm and quiet, the Palestinian Authority is taking over more and more of Area C, land which even according to the Oslo Accords should be under Israel’s exclusive authority. Every day, Salam Fayyad’s plan for the Arab takeover of land is being realized by strangling the development of Jewish settlement.
The residents of Judea and Samaria see this reality unfolding around them every single day. Hills that were arid waste until recently are being built up – funded and supported by the European Union – and the closer construction is to traffic arteries leading to the Jewish communities, the more support is given. And along with the illegal construction, there is illegal agriculture as well and illegal quarries. Lands that have been bought by Jews are becoming enclaves, surrounded by Arab construction and agriculture; sometimes these lands are appropriated by Palestinians without the appropriate and necessary Jewish response.
The Palestinians are determining facts on the ground and with characteristic Arab patience are quietly building a state for themselves without any objection and without handshakes or signed documents in brightly-lit halls. They understand well the value of land and we, with our diaspora complexes, still prefer a signed piece of paper of no real value.
And we are convinced that the calm is evidence that the holy status quo is being maintained by the other side as well. We are like fish that swim in an aquarium without knowing that someone has drilled a tiny hole in the bottom and the water is slowing leaking out.
Dear friends, we must wake up and understand: There is no such thing as the “status quo.” It is a dangerous and stupefying illusion that is allowing a Palestinian state to become a reality right under our noses, with all of the dangers that it presents to the long-term future of the State of Israel. We therefore repeat again that Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is an urgent necessity.
The hourglass is emptying and the sand itself is being lost. A decision must be made as soon as possible – either a Palestinian state with all of its existential dangers, or sovereignty.