Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli columnist and author. He was Director of Educational Programming and Information Resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and a volunteer spokesperson for the YESHA council. He was born in America and made Aliyah (moved to Israel) in 1970. He has resided in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University.
There should be some sort of confederation or some sort of autonomy linked to Jordan. This would be a ten-year process. I don’t say it as a political, military thing. The PA has been in charge of the education for at least two generations of Arab youths living in Judea and Samaria. It will require at least 10-15 years to undo all of the damage. Before then, I don’t think anything can be done because of the incitement, hate, Islamist ideology, anti-Semitism, etc. This goes into the younger generation of Arabs. This is suspect to me with regards to peace and stability.
If at the end of however many years, the Arabs “love us,” there are no terror incidents, no Imams quoting the Hadith saying “throw stones at Jews,” then you can draw borders. However, if they say yes and we draw borders, then comes the refugee problem.
What I want is a one-state solution, but I am willing to go with a two-state solution if the Arabs prove they are changed. Am I optimistic? No. But as a liberal Zionist, that is, in my personal political education adopting the outlines of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, especially in his chapter “The Arab Angle – Undramatized” in his last book, I realize that nationalist Zionism must be inclusive and tolerant, as long as safety is assured for the Jews on a personal level and the continued, secure existence of Israel is grounded. I accept the possibility that a solution of less than full Israeli sovereignty could happen, but if the Arabs do not realize and agree to a Jewish national identity, it won’t. We need to be equal and they have to know that Jordan is part of that mythical “Palestine” and it would be fair to demand a link to that entity as part of a solution.
They are not illegal and they are not illegitimate. Jewish communities cannot be illegal or illegitimate in any form because there is no other people that have rights historically, legally, diplomatically, culturally, religiously, or naturally that equal that of the Jewish people to Judea and Samaria. It is no error that in the preamble of the League of Nations’ decision to grant a mandate to Great Britain it was written: “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” A Jew, when married, breaks a glass to recall the Temple’s destruction. Every Biblical holiday also has an agricultural element bound up with the Land of Israel. No other people formulated borders as the Jews did, or practiced customs linking Jewish existence to a specific geographical location. In 1,800 years of Diaspora, not a quarter century passed without a Jew coming to this land, leaving or something happening. Every year archaeology provides a new verification of our history here. Moreover, the areas of Judea and Samaria are where almost all the main occurrences of Jewish national life took place, from kings to princes, to priests to prophets. We are Jews from Judea.
Point to consider: In the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference decision of 1920 and the League of Nations’ mandate decision of 1922, the word “Arabs” does not even appear— it only talks about non-Jewish communities who do not get political rights, but only personal and religious rights. So my interpretation of that is this: Jews have the right (as the mandate said in article six) to closely settle the land. That right overrides whatever political entity was there or will be there. In other words, it wasn’t illegal under the Ottoman Empire, and it cannot be illegal under the Palestinian Authority. I do not believe in ethnic cleansing of anybody. It should be up to the settlers to take on Palestinian citizenship or Israeli citizenship.
Before World War I, David Ben Gurion was for “Ottomization” of the Jews in Palestine. If Arabs can have Israeli citizenship, Jews can have Palestinian citizenship. There would need to be some sort of security situation, as it would be impossible to trust the Arabs with the security. As a general statement, the Oslo Accords, and even before (Menachem Begin’s autonomy proposal) would result in a reverse development for the Jews, such as expulsion, if the Palestinian entity was created. In other words, Palestinians cannot accept certain rights for themselves and then turn around and as a result of their “liberation,” deny the same for the Jews.
When Israel was ruling the Palestinians, they allowed (and are currently allowing) them to have a strong police force within the West Bank. So if the Palestinians should rule, they should allow the Jews to have a strong police force in the West Bank.
In the Arab conflict with Zionism, the Arabs have always rejected compromise and diplomatic solution. My unique idea is based on that behavior: it is only right that the key for leading to peace is some sort of incremental process in which the Arabs have to prove that they deserve the next stage through confidence building measures—stop incitement, stop terror, stop killing Arabs that want to sell land to Jews. Arabs get ahead of themselves and want it all up front. They have to prove themselves.
If you want to use Palestine as a historical geographical term, then you have to realize it never applied to a country, but to a region. In doing so, Jordan is part of Palestine, Israel is part of Palestine, and whatever is in between is part of Palestine. Whatever applies on the plus side for Arabs, also applies to Jews. Therefore, for example, if Arabs claim that you cannot build settlements in Judea and Samaria (or West Bank, a term created in 1950 by the illegal occupation of Jordan which annexed it), it must also apply to the Arabs within Israel. If Jews are “strangers” or “aliens” in “their country,” should we say that Arabs are “aliens” in Israel? Would that make sense? Would it be fair? In other words, I could, for argument’s sake, use the term “Arab settlements” to describe Arab residency locations in Israel to highlight the anomaly of denying Jews the right to live in Judea and Samaria. Either it works for everybody or it works for nobody.
Note: I used the word settlements, which Yisrael was fine with, but he refers to them as communities.
Because of the topography of the land (an objective element) combined with past history of how the “Arab National Movement” (subjective) behaved since 1920, there is no way Israel can leave security in hands of anyone but Israel when it comes to Judea and Samaria. International force? Give me a break. In Africa, admittedly an extreme example, it is highlighted just how bad an international force could be. The international forces in place are busy raping everyone on site. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, we suffered here from the Truce Commissions, and that cannot return. In Mosul, international forces “aiding” the besieged accidentally killed 120 people.
In 1967, right before the six-day war, Levi Eshkol decided to give diplomacy one last chance. He sent Abba Eban to the US. According to the 1950 Tripartite Agreement, which was a jointly issued statement by the United States, Britain, and France to guarantee the territorial status quo determined by Arab–Israeli armistice agreements and which committed them to take action within and outside the United Nations to prevent violations of the frontiers or armistice lines, Eban said, “you and Britain have to protect our water transportation through Suez Canal” (Egypt had blocked it). The US said, “show us—we don’t have a copy.” Anyway, on May 22, Britain and France declared it invalid. I don’t trust international forces. To answer the question on the role of Israel with violence, I have to answer, do Jews have a role in anti-Semitic acts against Jews? If yes, then our presence as a people in Judea and Samaria has a role. Does Israel make mistakes? Do soldiers act illegally or immorally? Yes. Does that deny our rights? No. It means they are criminals and have to be punished. We are not in a foreign land across the green line. Portraying Israel as having no rights to Judea and Samaria, and previously to Gaza, no matter what the results of the disengagement/withdrawal, doesn’t change the historical reality.
With regards to the phenomenon of the Hilltop Youth, or violence perpetrated by settlers: if there was no Arab violence, there would be no Jewish violence. Out of a community/population of 420,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria, it would be statistically illogical to believe that there would be no violence, whether a low level or a high level, given the situation. Even college sports events in the US generate more violent acts. But if the Palestinians, after a century of terror, murder, rape, and pillage, can still claim to deserve a state after all the violence they have perpetrated, the few instances of violence against persons and property by a small minority of Jewish residents in the area can in no way invalidate our claims to live in these territories.
Jerusalem is unified and will not be divided again. Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem should become part of Israel. In the UN partition plan of ‘47, Jerusalem as an international area was bigger than it is now. The map included Bethlehem, past Ma’ale Adumim, and just south of Ramallah. Thus, you cannot say that Israel recreated a Jerusalem. It didn’t even fulfill borders of Jerusalem according to UN in ‘47. You cannot say in 1967 Israel artificially created a supra-Jerusalem. Borders now are smaller than the borders in the initial partition plan.
I definitely think Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. It is in the peace treaty with Jordan (article nine) which they don’t fulfill. I know the Arabs won’t like this, but since we don’t pray in mosques, I think a small synagogue could be set up in a corner somewhere. It is 144 dunams after all, so there is definitely room.
As for sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the Waqf should be relieved of its authority except with regards to the insides of the buildings. For everything else, they should have an advisory position. At present, the Waqf administers the site with the police acting on security only. Everything else is sort of “as-it-goes” with the understanding that the Waqf is split between the PA and Jordan (with Hamas making inroads). When Israel agreed to permit security cameras, the Waqf demanded only outside and not inside the buildings (where Muslim youths gather to barricade and prepare firebombs, etc.) Jordan gave in and in the end, no cameras. This reality has to stop. That’s not how sovereignty works. There should be Saturday visits for “identifiable Jews”. There should be an extension of visitor hours as well as archaeological digs for Israelis.
None should be allowed to return. They started the war in 1948. They lost the war. It is not a chess game. Some, albeit far left, subscribe to the idea that Israel perpetrated ethnic cleansing. But in truth, it was the Jews that were ethnically cleansed between 1920-1948. I would estimate between 20-30,000 people in all from Hebron, Gaza, the Jerusalem area, Gush Etzion and even a small number from Shchem/Nablus. Arabs in the vast majority fled battle zones, and forced expulsions were but a small number. But more importantly, the Jews accepted the Partition Plan and the Arabs rejected it. The results that occurred happened in all cases of conflict around the world for centuries. The Arabs have only themselves to blame.
The clash between Zionism and the local Arab population is unique in the sense that, other than Muslims, every other religion and culture in one form or another, to one degree or another, recognized Jewish nationalism and its right to return to its historic homeland. Only the Arabs rejected that completely. They knew quite well it is the Jewish homeland. They knew their name for the area was not even in their own language as it is Latin. “Nablus” is a corruption of Neapolis. Despite all that happened in this country between 638 (when the Arabs first invaded, conquered and occupied it) until 1917 when they lost it to the English, they were quite aware of the Jews living here and coming here from all over. The dramatic increase in Jewish development from the middle of the nineteenth century was obvious. Jews were the majority of residents in Jerusalem by 1860. Feisal in his talk with Weizmann agreed in January 1919 that there would be an “Arab State” and a “Palestine” — which would be for the Jews. Specifically, [according to Feisal] “all necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures the Arab peasant and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.” We Jews were to obtain one state after World War I and the Arabs, several. Today there are 24, I think. And we still have to labor to justify and legitimize our one Jewish state. The Mufti adopted an unyielding political and diplomatic position which on the one hand led to the use of violence against Zionism and through rejecting any political compromise led to what the Arabs called “dispossession.” From that perspective, the Arab situation post 1948 is all the fault of the Arabs.
If they are true to themselves, there is a lot more that they should be boycotting. From medical equipment, to the computer chips, and to all sorts of other scientific advances. I don’t like convenient boycotters. Secondly, even those honest among them seem to be foolish enough to believe that BDS is about Israel’s policies and not about Israel as the Zionist expression of Jewish nationalism. The boycott movement started in December 1931 at the first Muslim World Conference in Jerusalem led by the Grand Mufti, which called for a boycott. This was even before the 1945 Arab League boycott. Therefore, boycott is not a tool against Jewish communities/settlements nor Israeli policies, but against the state itself.
Besides the fact that the intended link with apartheid South Africa is an immoral attempt to compare the two, those who think that Israel is an apartheid state are morally degenerate, and intellectually shallow. Dugard, a major proponent of this, is a liar and an ignoramus. There are no apartheid roads— A. if there were, there would be no drive by shootings of Jews by Arabs and B. if there are apartheid roads, they are Arab roads upon which Jews cannot travel in the Palestinian Authority Areas A and B. There are no roads which only Jews can travel on. Occasionally, for security and for a limited time, certain roads are opened and closed. But not in any permanent fashion.