by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover
When things are too good, we start worrying. It's like riding a bicycle – if it’s easy, it means that we are going downhill.
What is the prime minister planning to tell the president-elect about his vision for areas A,B and C? Is it going to be concessions or is Israel going to benefit from having a friend in the White House?
When one of the prophets of the Left, author A. B. Yehoshua, and even one of the designers of the Oslo Accords, Yossi Beilin, muse aloud about the concept of “sovereignty,” something must be cooking in the policy pot. When Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks of “two states” when talking to President-elect Trump, a big red light goes on. The prime minister is not a political neophyte and has a good many impressive achievements to his credit such as the battle against the Iranian nuclear deal and preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state, so what’s going on now?
When one of the prophets of the Left, author A. B. Yehoshua, and even one of the designers of the Oslo Accords, Yossi Beilin, muse aloud about the concept of “sovereignty,” something must be cooking in the policy pot.
In a discussion with A. B. Yehoshua, President Reuven Rivlin spoke about the matter of sovereignty in Area C and his interlocutor, the author, was convinced. Yossi Beillin also says that sovereignty in Area C does not bother him as long as the demographic matter is taken care of. Minister Bennett speaks of sovereignty in Area C along with autonomy for the Arabs in Areas A and B (without Israeli sovereignty). But instead of being pleased and maybe even beginning to dance the hora ecstatically, we are concerned.
The gut feeling is that they are going in the direction of two states! They are planning sovereignty in Area C (minus) and plan to dismember the other parts of the Land of Israel. They plan to surrender Nablus (Shechem), Jenin, Ramallah and more, surrendering the vision of an undivided Israel and surrounding the State of Israel with the Hamastan that would arise in Areas A and B. (And remember the Gazan Hamastan waiting to attack us from the South).
This gut feeling that has been with us for the past several weeks has become much more pronounced in light of the words of commentator Ariel Kahane, published in last week’s Hebrew Makor Rishon newspaper. In that article, Kahane claims that according to his sources, the prime minister will initiate a plan for the application of very minimal Israeli sovereignty (only Ma’ale Adumim and a few of the settlement blocs), and the Arabs will get less than a state in all of Areas A and B and even parts of Area C.
We must begin sounding an alarm against this plan immediately and ensure that this will not be the plan that is presented to President Trump. We have waited many long years for a supportive president in the White House, one who is willing to hear about the application of sovereignty in the entire area, and when this actually seems to have come true, is it going to be Israel that offers to concede parts of Judea and Samaria, the cradle of our homeland? Can there be anything more ironic?
You can already hear the voices saying: “Be thankful for Area C. That’s what you wanted" and "Israel will be redeemed gradually…” or “It has taken 50 years until we arrived at a consensus on Area C. Why are you ruining the party?”
We are not ruining the party, but we are not celebrating either. Under the guise of a nationalist policy, they are surrendering the vision of the Land of Israel! Agreed, we must apply sovereignty in Area C but in parallel, we must apply autonomy under the government of Israel in Areas A and B. True, this is difficult, complicated and complex, but that should not cause us to give up and withdraw. An erosion, G-d forbid, of the principle of clinging to the Land of Israel in Areas A and B could easily lead to surrender in Area C as well.
And lest we forget, who was it that divided the area and assigned the letters (A,B,C) and degrees of control, irresponsibly and without any real thought of the future? It is the same people who were responsible for the delusional vision of the Oslo Accords, the accords against which we very justly fought. Today, a great majority of the people in Israel see Oslo as a failed policy. Can it be that now, it is the Right that will adopt that same misguided division of the Land?
To those who would call us “delusional”, we say: those very same words were hurled at us five and six years ago, when we began the Sovereignty Campaign. No one believed that the Israeli Right could present a vision of its own, a Zionist, ethical policy vision, but it happened even more quickly than we could have guessed. The Right is no longer only yelling about what not to do, but knows what should be done. It has a direction and that plan has been placed on the political table to great effect.
One of the key questions that arises in the discussion about sovereignty is the status of the Arabs on the day after. This indeed, is no simple matter, but there are various suitable solutions to examine on the legal, demographic, social and political levels. Among other things, we must examine the option of residency that has been tried for the Arabs of Jerusalem, the option of encouraging voluntary emigration, the option of granting citizenship similar to the Druze, after testing and checking for loyalty to the state. There are other possible solutions as well.
We look at issues in a sober and responsible manner. It is very apparent to us that the application of sovereignty in Areas A and B might well occur after a period of time, but we, ourselves, have no mandate to neglect the mission to hold on to these areas as well. Already in the present phase it is possible to engage in deep discussions and draw the practical lines for a long-range plan for building and holding these areas. Much has been said about the capabilities of the Jewish mind. Now it will be tested. Public figures such as Ze’ev Hever (Zambish) should design a plan for Areas A and B. Minister Yisrael Katz, the government bulldozer, should plan roads, trains and airports for the entire expanse of our Land. Minister Elkin should plan for the environmental quality in the entire area.
In our ears the words of Rav Tzvi Yehuda continue to resound: “Where is our Shechem… Where is our Jericho… Where is our land on the far side of the River Jordan… Where is every single clod of earth? Each and every part of G-d’s Land, can we surrender any millimeter of it?...”. Our role is to respond to the entire world: No, honored rabbi, we have not forgotten. We have no intention of capitulating to the voices of the weak who claim “we cannot”; rather, in the spirit of Joshua ben Calev, we declare "We are well able to overcome" and "let us go up at once and possess it."
Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover are co-Chairwomen of Women in Green (Women for Israel's Tomorrow).
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