I was shocked to read last week in the Jerusalem Post that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, is supporting a radical and dangerous leftwing “peace plan,” and worse, this plan is being promoted to the youths of Efrat and other settlements.
“Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the founder and chief rabbi of Efrat, has expressed support, at the behest of his 18-year-old grandson, Eden, also a resident of Efrat, who has taken a leading role in drumming up support among teenagers and young adults (or, [in the words of the plan’s chief promoter Eliaz] Cohen, “infecting them with the sense of hope that is expressed by this proposal).”
I met and spoke with Rabbi Riskin a few times this week and he wanted to emphasize that he insists he “never accepted the plan.”
Rabbi Riskin said he was approached and was presented with a germ of an idea for a peace initiative, but was not made aware of any clear formulation of the terms of the plan itself.
Rabbi Riskin said he liked the name of the plan, “Two States, One Homeland,” and the concept as it was presented to him: a plan that would allow for peaceful coexistence, and did not require anyone, Jew or Arab, to be expelled from their homes.
Rabbi Riskin is a big believer and proponent of peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. He puts his money where his mouth is, and is known to personally get involved in helping Arabs who live in the villages around the town of Efrat. Without a doubt, this Rabbi is one of the reasons there so little friction between Jewish Efrat and its Arab neighbors.
He gave the plan’s advocate some stipulations of what any plan must include if he were to support it:
1) The Israeli-Jewish areas where Jews lived must clearly constitute a strong majority of Jews who would be establishing a Jewish State.
2) Not only would Jews have rights of access – and of course shared ownership – to the Temple Mount, but would also be permitted to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount.
3) There would be a complete cessation of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda in Palestinian media and publications.
4) The Arab areas must be demilitarized.
Alas, the good Rabbi was not thinking like a good radical leftist, and didn’t consider the far more dangerous provisos that any typical leftwing “peace plan” might include.
Nothing New at All
The Jerusalem Post article’s author, Andrew Friedman, claims “the plan is a departure from the classic two-states-for-two-peoples formula,” but it’s anything but that.
It instead takes elements from some of the worst proposals, ideas that even Peres, Beilin and Sarid refused to entertain, and makes them the cornerstones of the plan.
But that’s not what makes this plan dangerous. The danger lies in the fact that this peace plan’s proponents are targeting Jewish settlement youths and older settlers who truly believe that coexistence is possible, repackaged to make the plan sound benign.
Unlimited Arab Refugees Allowed to Overrun Israel
The “Two State, One Homeland” website clearly states (emphasis added):
Immigration and naturalization Both states will have the right to define their own laws of immigration and naturalization within its boundaries. The State of Palestine would be at liberty to naturalize Palestinian refugees as it sees fit, and the state of Israel will be at liberty to naturalize the Jews of the diaspora, as it sees fit.
The Open Land vision a. The two states would be committed to a vision of one land, within which the citizens of both states have the right to travel and live in all parts of the land;
If their intentions aren’t clear enough from the text above, let me explain it, a fundamental cornerstone of the plan allows for the new Palestinian State to freely invite in millions of “Palestinian Refugees”.
Two million Jordanian Arabs, half a million Lebanese Arabs, and half a million Syrian Arabs (for starters) will be offered citizenship and entry into the new Palestinian state, where they will then be granted free access to the entire country — including the state of Israel, or what’s left of it.
Rabbi Riskin was surprised to learn this was a cornerstone of the plan, and made it clear that he in no way supports such an idea.
Efrat to Become Part of the Palestinian State
Rabbi Riskin was actually shocked to learn that his own town of Efrat would be transferred over to the Palestinian State, and any of its Jewish residents who choose to remain might be allowed to obtain Palestinian State citizenship, or otherwise will be granted “permanent residency” status.
It’s implied in the plan that the Jewish residents remaining inside the Palestinian State will be disarmed.
While he believes there can be land concessions in exchange for peace, Rabbi Riskin said he could never accept a plan that transfers sovereignty of the settlement blocs, and of Jews, away from the State of Israel.
What Demilitarized State?
While the plan calls for some “demilitarized zones” and decommissioning “armed militias and unauthorized organizations,” the Palestinian State will be anything but demilitarized.
In the Q&A section, the authors make it clear that the State of Palestine will be a completely independent sovereign entity with its own independent security force – but not to worry, the plan’s Arab co-authors say “they have no interest in tanks and planes.”
With a plan like this, they won’t need them.
By the way, all the plan’s Arab co-authors “are senior Fatah officials, all of whom served long stints in Israeli jails for murder,” according to the Jerusalem Post article.
Don’t you feel safer now about their intentions?
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.
This plan is nothing more than a regurgitation of the worst of the radical left’s most dangerous ideas.
But the authors are actually playing a different game.
They are trying to get it support from the settlers and the settlement youth, apparently through obfuscation of the dangerous ideas in the plan and playing off the naiveté and idealism of those they approach.
One peace-loving settler, who asked not to be named, told me he was approached by this group to attend one of their parlor meetings. He quickly caught on to their con.
But what about all the idealistic youths who are being targeted and don’t yet have the sophistication to ask the right questions or realize they are being hoodwinked?
One can only hope that Friedman is correct when he writes, “Predictably, the proposal has yet to make headway in the settlement community where distrust of the Palestinians is trumped only by a religious commitment to the Whole Land of Israel.”
It’s also trumped by sheer common sense, shared by about 70% of Israel’s voters who have been leaning decisively to the right over the past ten years. It’s highly doubtful they would buy this plan either – once they know what it actually says.