Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Not a private fight over land - Dror Eydar

by Dror Eydar

Israeli society, for the most part, understands that the struggle is not only about Amona, but is actually a national battle for the right of the Jewish people to return home.

It's a relief to be freed from uncertainty. The enemies of the settlements were hoping for a violent clash between the pioneers on the hilltop and the security forces, thinking that such images would cause the public to hate the settlers. 

But Israeli society, for the most part, understands that the struggle is not only about Amona, but is actually a national battle for the right of the Jewish people to return home. There is a reason why the leftist groups are investing an enormous amount of effort and money in trying to stop Jewish settlements in the parts of the country that are most connected to our identity as a people. 

What's the real story on Amona? The local Arabs refused to accept the resolution the United Nations passed on Nov. 29, 1947, and launched enemy attacks that snowballed into a full-out war with seven Arab countries whose armies invaded the nascent Jewish state. What did they want? "Justice," or, in other words, to wipe out the Jewish state and eradicate its residents. Six thousand of our best sons and daughters were killed in that war. 

As a result of that crime, King Abdullah of Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria. He and his son Hussein began parceling out the land according to political and personal interests and registering it to their followers in the Jordanian land registry. The Jordanian government, which governed the area illegally for 19 years, distributed land that didn't belong to it. 

Most of the onslaught of petitions by "human rights" groups (which means "human rights for everyone, just not for the Jews to settle their homeland") rests on those registries. Israel accepted that narrative, and so did Israeli courts. Based on this lie, the Left talks about "theft" and "Naboth's vineyard" and other claims that share the local Arabs' false narrative. This is the primal sin in which Amona and other settlements are caught up. 

Even after accepting the narrative of lies, the petitioners could not prove "ownership" of any specific place (although in a few cases it was established in a general sense). The court did not insist that they do so, because the state immediately admitted that the construction was illegal or against the rules or went into other legal squirming that addressed the situation of land ownership as if it dated from the Jordanian occupation. Amona was just rocky ground before the hilltop pioneers moved to it, and not only Amona -- there was barely any Arab agriculture in the surrounding area. 

The "land owners" received a boon from this no man's land: The settlers and the Israeli government were prepared to compensate them for more than the land was worth. But even if they wanted the money, their personal wishes were not considered; they are just a tool in the Arabs' long fight against the Jews' return to Zion. Some of our own have joined that fight. To our disgrace, our own people have decided to make war on Zionism. 

This coming summer will mark the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel. If not for the memory of Samaria, if not for the longing for Hebron, and if we had not kept Jerusalem in our thoughts at every celebration for 1,900 years since the destruction of the Second Temple, Theodor Herzl's vision would not have echoed with anybody, because there is no Zionism without Zion, and Zion is first and foremost those ancient segments of the country. 

The battle over Amona is the tip of the iceberg in the battle for the country as a whole. At its core, the battle is about the question of our destiny, about which people returned to Zion, their identity, and around what ethos their renewed nationality is being formed. Back in the 19th century, when the pendulum of history began to swing back from exile to redemption and Jews started to trickle back to their historic homeland, the question of our loyalty to the land that had waited for us quietly and refused to give her goodness to any other people was put to the test. The pioneers in all the waves of aliyah struggled against great difficulties, at the root of which lay the question of whether they would hold on to the land of their forefathers in spite of everything. The ground-breaking settlement showed the peoples of the region that Jews also know how to hold on fast to their land. 

The insistence of the Amona pioneers on staying on the hill fills us with hope that the Zionist revolution is not dead. Going all the way while maintaining a dialogue with the government, and the compromise it led to, demonstrates maturity. 

As the old elite atrophies, a new elite is being built. The ultimate test of every elite lies in the realization that it can no longer operate with the mentality of a persecuted minority that is always on the defense. Dear pioneers, in times like these no one can take your place as you carry the stretcher. 

Dror Eydar

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=17921

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