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Tuesday
Aug132013

THE HISTORICAL RIGHT TO ERETZ YISROEL

In a most insightful interview with Beis Moshiach, former MK Professor Aryeh Eldad speaks about the Bayit Yehudi Party: They are taking risks with our future”, and the prime minister: He is advancing a dangerous proposal that will leave us with less than the 1967 borders.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

Times have been very troubling lately for Professor Aryeh Eldad. He watched with incredulous eyes as the ideological right-wing Knesset Members gave a security net” to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and enabled him to stabilize his coalition government. He knows all too well that this is exactly how the expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron passed into law. At the time, he was one of the more dominant MKs fighting with all his strength, albeit unsuccessfully, against the disengagement plan. His Knesset colleagues from the National Religious Party remained in the coalition and gave Sharon the solid parliamentary support he needed to crush the Jewish settlements. Today, Professor Eldad operates outside the political system. Portrayed as an ultra-extremist, the Ichud Leumi (National Union) Party pushed him into an unrealistic spot on its list of candidates in last winter’s elections, believing that he would again seek to prevent their joining the government. There were those who claimed at the time that anyone born in opposition has no place with us. Thus, Eldad was left out, but he has no regrets.

In his role as chairman of a professors’ association on diplomatic and economic strength, he is trying a new diplomatic initiative – the only one of its kind to pursue the “not one inch” approach that also denies full Israeli citizenship rights to the Arabs of Yehuda and Shomron. According to Eldad, he wakes up each morning in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. He does this with great dedication, even though he is no longer in public office.

Ten years ago, he gave up his profitable career as a renowned physician, and won a seat in the Knesset, representing the Moledet faction founded by the late Rechavam Zeevi, may G-d avenge his blood. During his first parliamentary term, the expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron was approved, and as a form of protest, he moved to the northern Shomron settlement of Sa-Nur. In the period preceding the expulsion, he would give out special medals of bravery to people arrested during the anti-disengagement demonstrations. He was not afraid to call for non-violent civil disobedience against the Sharon government, and he became greatly admired by the Israeli public. They saw him as a leader who remained undaunted as he spoke with a clear voice against this catastrophe orchestrated by the Israeli Government.

However, his crowning achievement is the presentation of his political initiative, which proposes the full annexation of Yehuda and Shomron under Jewish sovereignty, and the granting of Jordanian citizenship to the Arabs living in this region. This is the only proposal of this type that does not give Israeli citizenship to the local Arab population. The plan stipulates that the Arabs living in Yehuda and Shomron can remain Israeli residents, but they only receive citizens’ rights from Amman. According to Eldad, this is the only plan that can possibly stop the creation of a Palestinian state.

BACK TO THE SAME OLD POLICIES

Eldad is aware that his positions are not within the mainstream of Israeli society. Yet while he doesn’t wear a kippa, he is not embarrassed to speak about his faith in the Tanach and the Greater Land of Israel. “This is a two-sided religious war, as we are here because of the Tanach,” Eldad said. “It wasn’t because of the Balfour Declaration or the United Nations partition plan, which are merely Gentile documents that recognized the historical right of Jews to Eretz Yisroel as stated in the Tanach. Many secular Jews resist this notion because the Tanach doesn’t resonate with them.

“The Arab asks: ‘By what right are you dwelling here?’ The Iranian fundamentalists are not interested, and rightly so, about how Jews were persecuted in Europe. ‘You have problems with the Germans,’ they say, ‘not with us. Why are we to blame? This is our land – the property of the Wakf.’ The Israeli leftist asks himself: ‘Why am I here? Because my parents raised me here? That’s merely an accident of history, and it doesn’t transform my existence here into something justified.’ The Arab is right and the Iranians are right, when they say that anti-Semitism cannot be a justification for modern colonialism.”

Are you worried when you see the Bayit Yehudi Party sitting in a government that is conducting negotiations with the terrorists?

The Bayit Yehudi Party is acting in exactly the same fashion as did its predecessor, the National Religious Party, on the eve of the Gaza disengagement. If someone thought that the presence of the Tekuma faction within “the Jewish Home” would give it a more nationalist platform, he has been proven dead wrong. Today’s political situation reveals that there is no political force within the governing coalition that intends to protect Eretz Yisroel. The only Knesset Member who speaks openly on this matter is Moshe Feiglin (Manhigut Yehudit). He says that this is the final opportunity to stop Netanyahu, and if he can’t be stopped now, we won’t be able to stop him at a later stage. Therefore, Feiglin declared that he would vote against the proposed state budget, because once the budget was passed, the government would continue its dangerous peace initiative unabated. As soon as the budget battle was behind us, Bibi was free to act on the diplomatic stage with the support of Shas, Meretz, and the Labor Party. Feiglin is the only MK faithful to the cause of Eretz Yisroel who was prepared to vote against the government, as he understood that Netanyahu is quite serious and now is the time to stop him.

In your opinion, what is motivating the other Knesset Members to conform to the governing coalition?

They are relying upon G-d to harden Pharaoh’s heart and prevent the Arabs from coming to any peace agreements. They are gambling with our future, since there are presently no obligations between the two sides. We have to do everything in our power to stop this government and not take any dangerous risks.

In other words, we have to topple the government.

I didn’t say that. It would be enough if the Bayit Yehudi MKs would have proclaimed their opposition to the budget, and with the support of an additional fifteen ideological MKs from the Likud Party, they could have prevented the release of the terrorists. They could have given the prime minister an ultimatum, but there was no one there to stand firm against him. As a result, he released the terrorists and sent a negotiating team to Washington, because he knows that no one is prepared to oppose him.

What do you have to say to your former party colleague, MK Uri Ariel, who is now sitting in the government as a Cabinet minister?

There are some excellent people in the government today. Yet, they surmise that since nothing will come out of the new round of talks with the Arabs, it’s preferable to sit quietly in the coalition. The law clearly states: “The Government is collectively responsible to the Knesset; each Minister is responsible to the Prime Minister for the field of responsibility with which the Minister has been charged.” In other words, while a minister can oppose government decisions, once they have received Cabinet approval, he is totally accountable for putting them into practice. The fact that he voted against the release of the Arab terrorists will do him no good once it has been adopted by the government. From that moment on, Uri Ariel bears the responsibility to implement national policy just as does Prime Minister Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Gideon Saar, or any other Cabinet member. They will either be full partners in all government decisions or they will have to resign from the Cabinet.

Then why don’t we have to bring down the coalition?

There’s no need to do that. Netanyahu will not commit political suicide. There was a need for an ultimatum. The twelve Bayit Yehudi MKs and the Eretz Yisroel loyalists in the Likud Party could have told him, “You can’t pass the budget if you free these murderers and send a negotiating team to Washington.” However, they didn’t do that, and another month or two from now, he’ll make further concessions in the Washington talks, and by then it will be too late to intimidate him politically. Once the negotiations get underway, if they try to make further threats, the prime minister will tell them that if they leave the coalition, he’ll simply replace them with Shas or Labor. He wouldn’t be able to bring Labor or Meretz into the government to pass the state budget, but they would happily support him in giving away portions of Eretz Yisroel.

What are your expectations for the prime minister’s diplomatic initiative?

Netanyahu will quickly try and advance the diplomatic negotiations, and in truth, the only thing that can stop him will be if G-d hardens the Arabs’ hearts. He has already recognized a Palestinian state, their rights to Yerushalayim, and the need to release terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands. Netanyahu has today crossed all red lines. He is a weak prime minister who has already conceded on everything, and he’s prepared to give it all away to the Arabs.

Has he agreed to return to the June 1967 borders?

Of course. He’ll go back to the 1967 borders and more than that. He’s even ready to make border adjustments. In other words, he’ll give them more territory in the Negev, the Arava, or in other regions. Netanyahu is now discussing the surrender of all territory that had been under Jordanian control prior to June 1967 to the Palestinian Authority. As for territory remaining under Israeli sovereignty, i.e., Maale Adumim, he’ll compensate them with land beyond the Green Line – an “exchange of territories.”

A LACK OF VISION AMONG NATIONALIST LEADERS

During the last election campaign, Eldad left the splintering “Ichud Leumi” Party and ran for the Knesset on an independent list together with his parliamentary colleague, Dr. Michael Ben-Ari. However, their efforts to win re-election came up 9,000 votes short. Eldad is now writing a new book about the myopia of Israeli nationalist leaders.

“I am planning to write a book dealing with the problem of vision among right-wing leaders in Eretz Yisroel. A study on eye diseases would be in order when discussing their common use of the expression, ‘You don’t see there what you see from here.’ From Begin to Sharon, from Olmert to Netanyahu – every time a right-wing politician became prime minister, he adopted the policies of Peace Now. Yet, when you come to him with complaints, he says that you don’t see there what you see from here.

“For some of them at least, this stems from the fact that their ideological creed was merely a political tool and not a part of their character, especially in Sharon’s case. He was never an ideologue in the cause for the Greater Land of Israel. He once ridiculed me before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the eve of the disengagement, when I asked him what would happen on the day after, if they started firing missiles at us from Gaza.

“He lowered his glasses, looked at me, and said, ‘Doctor, don’t worry. We also have cannons.’ I responded that I already knew that from foreign sources, but we both knew that we couldn’t use them. He then said, ‘Things that you see here, you don’t see from there.’ This was an insult to my intelligence. Even Olmert and Netanyahu used this excuse. I once considered proposing legislation that anyone who wants to be prime minister first has to sit behind the desk in the Prime Minister’s Office, in order to see the view from there in advance. In the end, I didn’t make the proposal, and that’s a pity.”

What are you doing today to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state?

Today, while it’s harder for me to take effective action, I continue my efforts to try and sway public opinion. Next month, I will be organizing a conference in Yerushalayim on this issue for 350 public figures from all over the world. The title for my initiative is “Jordan is the Palestinian state.”

Essentially, what are the main elements of your proposal?

In the framework of the political revolutions engulfing the Arab world – the so-called “Arab Spring” – revolution will apparently come to Jordan as well. This means the fall of the Hashemite kingdom in Amman, leaving us along our eastern border with a country that is a Palestinian state in every practical sense. The Palestinians essentially control the country, as they constitute 70-80% of today’s Jordanian population. Whether we like it or not, this is the reality of the situation. No one will ask us for our opinion, just as no one asked the United States when Mubarak was deposed in Egypt or regarding any other toppled Arab regime. Therefore, I suggest that we make use of this change to develop an alternative option for dialogue on the Palestinian problem.

According to the current state of affairs, diplomatic negotiations are stalled, and it will continue to serve our cause the longer they remain stalled. The problem is that when a breakthrough occurs, the only option that they will discuss is the establishment of a Palestinian state on the western bank of the Jordan River. According to my proposal, we must prepare for a possible regime change in Amman with the Palestinian majority taking over. Subsequently, when this happens, all the Arabs living in Yehuda and Shomron will become Jordanian citizens. While they can stay in Eretz Yisroel as residents, they will have no national rights, only their personal rights as human beings. They will not be able to vote in Knesset elections, nor will they have any influence upon parliamentary legislation to turn Eretz Yisroel into a bi-national state. This model already exists with the 250,000 Arabs living in East Jerusalem, carrying standard blue identity cards, yet they have not been enfranchised for national elections. This is how we’ll solve the demographic problem, and we can also grant full annexation to Yehuda and Shomron without relinquishing our sovereignty.

Do you have a model for such a reality already existing in the world?

We have the model that the United Nations proposed in its partition plan for creating the new Jewish state. As the UN proposal was first drafted, it created two states – Israel for the Jews and Palestine for the Arabs. Then, they discovered that the future Jewish state would be home to 600,000 Jews and (l’havdil) 450,000 Arabs. When the United Nations realized that it would be most difficult for the Jews to sustain their new country with such a large Arab minority, they offered a distinction between a resident and a citizen. The Arabs who chose to live in the Jewish state would be granted residency status with citizenship in the Arab state. In other words, the Jewish state would provide all their municipal services and they could vote in Arab parliamentary elections.

You were recently picked to chair an association of professors on diplomatic and economic power. What are your plans for this forum?

While this forum has been a bit inactive in recent years, I’m planning to pursue greater influence through the world of academics and present our diverse ideas in scholarly public discussions. We are presently working on a position paper, writing to newspapers, and bringing a totally new and distinctive viewpoint to this vital national issue. It will explain to the world about the danger in the establishment of a Palestinian state and the need to present viable alternatives to the diplomatic impasse.

The image created for the nationalist camp is that while the people are with them, the intellectuals are not. This is a false representation, and the political left is taking full advantage of it. I have a little experience in this area. I know that Knesset Members are somewhat sensitive about complaints, reviews, public reactions, etc. I recognize these sensitivities and hope that I can properly exploit them in this arena.

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