Sunday, June 15, 2014

When Will We Have Made Enough Concessions to Appease Our Supporters?

Yom rishon, 17 Sivan 5774.

Last Thursday night, three yeshiva boys were kidnapped.
Without the swearing and vitriol that this topic usually seems to arouse, I would like to hear a reasoned discussion on the possible scenarios.

There are (at least) two different opinions among those who claim to support Israel.

On one side of the discussion are those who, for religious or nationalistic reasons, believe that Jews are entitled to land beyond the so-called Green Line, that we have a right to populate and rule over the region called variously the West Bank, Yehuda and Shomron, or Judea and Samaria. On the other side of the discussion are those who, for reasons of the pursuit of human rights or merely for peace and quiet, believe that Jews have no business occupying the land beyond the Green Line, that this land rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. For the sake of this discussion, I won't present all of the arguments of each side, about which much has been written extensively already.

In 2005, the Israeli government attempted the experiment of removing Jews from Gaza. For years, no Jews were there (except for Gilad Shalit). It is true that Gaza was not left unmolested -- but only as a response to attacks on Israel emanating from Gaza. This did not bring an increase in peace. Those on one side of the argument saw this as proof that moving Jews out of the area was a mistake, only allowing for another (and nearer) launching pad for terrorism. Those on the other side believe that it was not enough, and that the terrorism will stop when Israel withdraws from all of the land the Palestinians claim.

For the sake of this discussion, I won't deal with the chimera of settlement construction, as it is only a stepping stone. Why does settlement construction matter? As has been proved many times, it is not about building new settlements in areas currently occupied by Palestinians. In most if not all cases, the construction is happening in existing Israeli communities. Settlement construction is offensive to one side of the argument because it indicates that Israelis are planning to stay on land the other side covets. So let's cut to the chase.

If I and my neighbors in Judea and Samaria left our homes and moved into other parts of Israel, would the attacks stop? If they did, if there were peace, I guess we would have to concede that the other side of the argument was correct -- that at least for the purposes of peaceful coexistence, moving out of these areas and leaving them to the Palestinians was the necessary approach. But if peace didn't ensue -- if instead attacks now moved into Haifa and Tel Aviv and other areas that (so far) many of Israel's supporters (within Israel and without) believe Israelis are entitled to inhabit -- would the other side begin to believe that perhaps the Arabs do not want peace at all, but merely an absence of Israelis, and specifically Jews?

Or would that side merely suggest that it is fine and understandable for the Arabs to still be attacking, because Israel waited too long to pull out, or because Israel isn't doing enough to support the new Palestinian state surrounding her, or because the Arabs have a legitimate right to further chunks of Israel?

When will it finally be enough? Is there any way to prove to those on the other side of the argument, to our friends outside of Israel and inside her (accepted) borders, that Hamas and Fatah and Hizbollah and indeed the Palestinian and greater Arab world have no intention of making peace with even a sliver of Israel?

Please pray for the safe and speedy return to their families the following young men: Eyal ben Iris Teshura (age 19); Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim (age 16); Yaacov Naftali ben Rachel (age 16, and a US citizen).

איל בן איריס תשורה
גילעד מיכאל בן בת גלים
יעקב נפתלי בן רחל דבורה
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